, Bar Codes in tracking samples

Julian Humphries jmh3 at CORNELL.EDU
Tue Aug 8 18:29:48 CDT 1995

>Julian Humphries wrote:
>>Everybody assumes barcodes are something special.  I
>>predict with 3-4 years they will be obsolete, that scanners will
>>read Times Roman numbers as well as they read |||\|/!! (put your
>>favorite barcode here).
>In fact, another technology is already being developed by the South
>Africans, as I recall from a message last year: use of a microchip
>for each box/bottle/specimen. The codes could then be read by running
>a reader across the storage shelving. Perhaps someone else remembers
>more of the details?

I checked into this technology, too, its call PIT (passive interogative
transitors).  They use it to track stocked salmon and the like.  But,
two problems: cost $2-4 (US dollars) each and they only hold about
96 bits at best, about 12 bytes.  Enough for a museum abbreviation and
number, but not enough for real data.  I tried to convince a mfg. we
might buy a few million, but he said even then, we would be talking
75c each.  They have to be encoded is the problem and that is a custom
operation.  Maybe in a few years this will be developed further.  One
nice feature, they are pretty resistant to fluids (but I couldn't get
30 year guarantees in alcohol!).

Julian Humphries                          Email: jmh3 at cornell.edu
The MUSE Project, Cornell University
83 Brown Road, Building 3
Ithaca, NY  14850  USA
Voice: 607-257-8143                       Fax:   607-257-8109

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