Slideshow: Barcodes in Unusual Places

Keith Caswell
Monday, Jun 27, 2011 at 4:40 PM

Barcodes have been known to pop up in some unexpected places. They’re showing up in video games, on dogs, babies, and even on people’s heads. The incredible, edible, wearable barcode: Is there anyplace you can’t put one? Check out our slideshow of uniquely placed 2D barcodes like Microsoft Tag by clicking on each thumbnail below, and let us know what you think in the comments! (Check out our previous slideshow of barcode fashion too.)

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QR code skateboard

This barcode skateboard is sure to impress the next time you pull off a handplant on the half-pipe down at the skate park. Designed by Yuriy Starikov, the skateboard is, sadly, only a concept rendering, but that’s no reason not to buy a blank deck and get creative.

Photo courtesy Yuriy Starikov

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Inside video games like Alan Wake

Microsoft Tags aren’t just for real life anymore; they’re also now appearing in virtual life. The video game Alan Wake features Microsoft Tags throughout the game that, when scanned with a mobile device, play a voicemail message from one of the game’s characters.

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Barcodes on billboards

Billboards are a great way to expose people to your brand. However, as advertising goes, they are passive and easy to ignore. Make them more active and engaging by inviting viewers to scan them. Barcodes also provide people more content and information about your brand than will fit on a billboard.

Photo via Lee Maguire

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On the back of your head

If you happen to have a freshly shaven dome, that might be an even more economical and attention-grabbing place for advertising than a billboard. Just do what this enterprising fellow has done and temporarily tattoo a Microsoft Tag to the back of your head for all to see and scan.

Photo via D. Begley

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Doggy t-shirts

Make your little pup work for his treats by being an advertisement for your brand. With this adorable dog shirt from Zazzle, passing K9 lovers that want to pet your pooch will also be able to scan a Microsoft Tag.

Photo courtesy Zazzle.com

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Baby barcode onesie

Your dog isn’t the only one who can get in on the barcode-wearing action. Your little ones can wear barcodes too. Babies don’t really have a choice about what they wear, so they may as well show your love for the UPC with this baby barcode onesie.

Photo courtesy Zazzle.com

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Chocolate barcode business cards

Let’s be honest: business cards are easy to lose and an unreliable way to get your name into the hands of the right people. So make your business card more whimsical by making it out of chocolate and print a barcode on it so people can scan it, then eat it (like Tag's Elliott Lemenager did). That’ll make your name more memorable!

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Barcodes on cupcakes

While we’re on the subject of edible barcodes, how about cupcakes? Cupcakes are all the rage right now and few can resist tasty frosted baked goods, so have recipients scan the sugary treat before you give it to them.


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