Sunday, October 22, 2006

Semapedia.org


Semipedia.org lets you print data matrix barcodes to stick anywhere you want. Normally these barcodes are found strictly on websites. They help facilitate surfing the web on your phone. The barcodes correspond to specific URL's. You simply point and click, with your camera phone, and it takes your phone to that website(no need to type the URL in by hand). You're probably asking why you would want, or need, to 'print' these barcodes.

Semapedia connects with the ever-popular Wikipedia to help 'tag' the real world. At their website you can enter a Wikipedia URL corresponding to what you want to tag(your car, school, city, etc...), print the tag, and stick it. Any would-be passerby who is interested in knowing more can use their camera phone to snap a picture of the tag and it will take them to the Wikipedia entry giving them the defintion.

I really like the idea of this niftly site, but I just can't get rid of the little
pessimistic voice inside that says it won't take off. The places where it seems to be most useful would also be the places someone wouldn't want you sticking them. For starters, you'll probably get a nice littering fine for putting them in most public places like outdoor artwork, roadsigns, on buildings, and so on, but even indoors you'll probably run across problems. It would be great to stick them on books, electronics, toys, etc..., but you can't exactly walk into a Walmart and start tagging like mad. Yes, you could tag a product you bought, but the idea is for someone else to see it, get curious, and read the tag to learn about it.

It's hard to imagine that you could get away with sticking these barcodes around in public places(at least in the USA). Although, I could really see advertisers, and companies using this technology to their advantage. Next time you go shopping for a music CD, movie, or your deciding between a new Blue-Ray or HD DVD player, how would you like to be able to use your cellphone to snap a picture of a tag and get a video commercial instantly?

Or, how about tagging tourist attractions. It may be useful to supply a tag on a landmark plaque. I was on Chincoteague Island, in Virginia, a couple years ago. They used wooden plaques everywhere-on the bridges, at the monuments, all over. It would be interesting to see how well data matrix barcodes worked on those. The plaques usually only have a breif outline of the place or monument, but with the barcode you could take the visitor to a website with more comprehensive information.

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