Enter the Matrix Code

047267E4-437F-4E31-8A93-EB22454AEE33.jpg You’ve all seen them before on your mail and packages. They are starting to turn up all over the place. It’s also becoming a much more complicated landscape. There are more and more types of two-dimensional matrix barcode appearing all the time. The majority of them are consisting of black and white square modules arranged in either a square or rectangular pattern, price which gives them that television static look. They are however no longer limited to just black & white or square in shape. There are others that look more like crop circles, therapist some that actually have pictures in them and some based on color triangles.

Microsoft has introduced their own version that they call the High Capacity Color Barcode. This version has both a 4 color and 8 color version that offer a much more data storage.

An interesting aspect to the High Capacity Color Barcode is that is supports RSA signatures. With it’s long list of features and data density it’s your best option for actually storing information that needs to be physically printed on a surface. The only challenge with Microsoft’s solution is that there isn’t any easy way to use them yet. As of this time there are no public readers available for cell phones or online.

7F9988A1-FE11-4C70-8978-51B4EC3653C2.jpgHowever with today’s always online technology and readers based in cellphone, I’m personally interested in ShotCode’s solution. They are focusing on mobile tagging that work sort of like a TinyURL in that they only contain a link to a URL. To use a ShotCode you can use generate one for free on their site. To decode you can Download a ShotCode mobile barcode reader from their site or choose from a few option for the iPhone from the App store.

It’s interesting to see how these codes are starting to take off in general use. The site Semapedia is all about creating links between real world objects and Wikipedia. On their site you can enter in the Wikipedia URLs and create a DIY printable sticker sheet, that you can then go and tag objects with. Everyone should go and create some and stick them on stuff.

The QR Codes seem to have become the most used in advertising right now thanks to their success in Japan. It’s the code that I myself have noticed more and more in public spaces and adds.

So which one is the best? For me it’s the one that is easiest and cheapest to create and scan back in. For that I’m leaning on the QR Code at the top of the list followed by DataMatrix and the ShotCode. I’m interested in using the HCCB, but will have to wait.

Here’s a little sample of some of the matrix codes I could find:


DataMatrix Code


Aztec Code


QR Code


Bee Tagg














Snowflake code



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