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Product: Bar Codes
VisCode   (+2, -1)  [vote for, against]
A simple icon for almost 100,000 numbers (edit: was 20,000)

After reading 'The Ultimate Gallery' on HB, I began to think about the enormous number of combinations there are available even in a really small, simple icon.

Introducing: The Viscode. [See link].

A VisCode is a panel of 3x3 squares with a choice of 3 colours. That's 3^9 combinations, or 19,683 combinations.

## EDIT! The colours are black white and red. using more than one 'real colour' (ie not black, not white) made it harder to remember the viscode. But then I realised that you can pick a colour to represent the 'third' colour at the start, giving you extra combinations. Now almost 100,000 numbers can be represented as a viscode. ##

What use are VisCodes? Well, people are quite good at recognising and recalling icons, so adding a VisCode to the numerous serial numbers we see around the place (officer ID, inventories, lab experiments, component parts, etc) might one day help someone say: "Hey, that VisCode is getting familiar... I must have seen it before". Or: "I don't remember the officer's name but his bagde had a red T and black dot."

Put them on contracts and never again get confused between contract #21,811 for 'supply of seedlings' and contract #21,181 for 'supply of saplings'.

Any other uses? Improvements, suggestions?

-- not_only_but_also, Oct 07 2004

See a random VisCode now!
Hit 'refresh' to see other random VisCodes. [not_only_but_also, Oct 07 2004]

I really like it, it just needs an application. Personally I thikn I'm more likely to remember that the Officer was 6ft tall, blonde, with blue eyes, a charming smile and a strong handshake, rather than a red T and a black dot. But that's just me.
-- neilp, Oct 07 2004

Yes, UnaBubba, it is my own invention.

Thinking about it more: It is almost useful for lots of things, but not quite. Not enough combinations for use with, say, telephone numbers. Yet making more squares or colours just makes the icons too complex to recognise/recall simply.

The only use I can think of is the top of a police car for helicopters -- except how do you know if it is being viewed upside-down? How many police cars does the average country/state have?
-- not_only_but_also, Oct 07 2004

I've updated the viscode to include one of four colours. (See edit, and link)

If you put more than one colour in a VisCode, it makes it hard to remember. But the 'one colour' can now be red (original), green (new), blue (new), or yellow (new).
-- not_only_but_also, May 27 2005

I think I once read a book tht had something about spies putting codes into bitmaps and posting them on an innocuous website so other spies could retrieve the information.
-- DesertFox, May 27 2005

random, halfbakery