Barcodes are a ubiquitous technological item that makes a daily appearance in our lives without us ever being aware of it. They can be found on any item sold in the mass market. The parallel lined barcode contains data of a particular product on which it is attached. If not for barcodes, the checkout lines at supermarkets would probably take forever. On the outside, barcodes may look plain and yawn-inducing boring with black parallel lines on a rectangular white sticker. The black parallel lines, however, have a colourful history. Barcodes were first invented to label and keep a track of railroad cars. Once the supermarket system became a part of our daily lives, the parallel lined barcode stickers made its way to the products on supermarket shelves.
In the new millennium, with the advent of the internet and mobile phone technology, barcodes have undergone a digital transformation. A user can receive a particular barcode on his or her mobile phone, which would enable them to check in at airports. With the ability to hold and transmit data, time has now come for barcodes to play a greater role in our lives.
Stickybits is a barcode app developed by Billy Chasen and Seth Goldstein for the iPhone and Android based smart phones. This app allows any physical object that has a barcode attached to carry additional messages. All that the user has to do is scan a barcode attached to an object and then insert their own photo, video, audio, or text message. When another user then scans the same barcode, the message will pop up in his or her smart phone.
When you are in your neighbourhood super market and drinking your favorite cola, you could scan the barcode of the cola can or bottle and attach a message to it with Stickybits. The next person who drinks the same cola and scans the barcode would receive your message. They could then choose to add their own message to the barcode. The barcode app allows you to do this with a host of other objects including greeting cards, business cards, and cereal boxes as well.
Social media is the current in thing. The popularity of Facebook is testament to that fact. With Stickybits, everyday objects are transformed into a social media platform. Users can connect with one another through messages left behind on a barcode.
Stickybits seems to be not only the future of barcodes but also the future of social media as well.