By Cat Robinson
Some useful (and often free) barcode scanner applications for smartphones and tablets:
There are a huge array of these applications available that can save you time, money, and offer you ingredients information, amongst many other uses.
Very excitingly for South Africa, a completely locally designed barcode scanner app, from price comparison site PriceCheck, recently beat out more than 100 000 entrants to win the International App of the Year at the BlackBerry Achievement Awards this year. The application allows the user to scan an EAN or UPC barcode with their phone, and the app will recommend cheaper items of a similar nature in-store, from a database of more than 30 million items. The application is now used to scan a barcode every 10-20 seconds!
Other barcode scanner apps such as Scanlife from Apple, also offer features such as prices from over 30 online retailers such as Amazon, as well as local shops where the item is sold, customer reviews, deals and coupons which are currently available, as well as ingredient and nutritional information. Unfortunately many of these features are only available in the US at present.
Another wonderful barcode application comes from Fooducate – they have a variety of apps available, from the basic free version which will recommend healthier food options when you scan the barcode, to specialised apps designed for allergy and gluten-free options, as well as an app for people with diabetes, and a ‘carb control’ option for those on a diet!
The barcode microwave:
So now that you’ve made your healthier food decision – how about actually cooking it? Well hacker Nathan Broadbent has created a microwave that not only has voice recognition, can be controlled from your phone or tablet, and even tweet once your meal is done – but also uses a barcode scanner to automatically set the cooking time. The microwave can even let you know when the food needs to be stirred, and how long it needs to stand for before serving. There was no online microwave cooking database available – so he created one himself that users can update with cooking instructions if the product’s barcode hasn’t been added yet. For the technologically ambitious, full details of how the microwave can be created are available on his blog, or see the video below:
Imagine if you could do your shopping virtually on the way to work, and have it delivered to your door just after you get home? No queues, no lugging bags around and battling to get your car out of a bustling parking lot? Yes, please. Well with the clever use of QR Codes, Tesco’s in South Korea have done just that!
South Koreans are said to be the second hardest-working nation in the world, and have very little time available for the weekly or daily grocery run. So Tesco’s has created panels of virtual items in areas like train stations, which display pictures of various items and a QR code for each. The customer scans the QR codes of the items they want, adding them to an online cart. When they’re done, they make the payment with their phone, and they’re off to work. Tesco’s then delivers the items after the customer returns home.
Read Part Two.