New 2D Barcode Being Developed

JAB-Code 2D Barcode

JAB-Code 2-D Color Barcode

No this isn’t an Andy Warhol painting, it’s a barcode! In an article published by DCVelocity last month, standards for this new 2-D color barcode are currently being drafted by the Association for Automatic Identification and Mobility or AIM. 


“The design is called JAB-Code, a tongue-in-check acronym for Just-Another-Bar-Code”. 

However, don’t let the name fool you. Though just in the design stage, the color bar code has the potential to store up to 3 times more data than it’s black and white counterpart. The article goes on to say; 

“Researchers in the automatic identification and data capture (AIDC) field have been investigating versions of polychrome – or multi-colored – barcodes since the 1960’s”. 

This iteration of a poly-chromatic barcode is unique in that it can be printed in the shape of any combination of rectangles, such as a rectangle, a square or a geometric U-shape and comes in multiple color combinations of 4, 8, 16 or more.

On the downside, the JAB-Code would require a color printer to create the barcode and current scanning technology only supports mono-color codes. Chris Brock, Senior Director of Advanced Development for Zebra Technologies explains; 

“There are some significant demands that reading color barcodes places on scanner design and it’s yet to be determined whether a potential increase in data density is worthwhile. One reason is that color image sensors require brighter light to accurately read codes than equivalent monochrome sensors do, stretching their ability to manage heat generation and power consumption”.


To a certain extent, limitations in scanning technologies have hindered wide acceptance of multi-chromatic barcodes. However, with its  increased data capabilities, JAB-Code would have the capacity to store unique biometric information like fingerprints and iris scans. This could have significant impact for government agencies issuing identity documents such as birth certificates and visas.

So the jury is still out on the applicability of the JAB-Code, but one thing is for sure . . . technology is always evolving!