New System Encodes Chinese Characters for Bar Codes

WARRENDALE, Pa.--The International Symbology Specification-Grid Matrix is now publically available, AIM announces. Grid Matrix is a square, variable-sized, two-dimensional matrix symbology with unique dark- and light-framed "macromodules" that create a grid design that provides a finder pattern. The finder pattern ensures that readers can locate and orient the symbol even with significant symbol damage. User-selectable levels of Reed-Solomon error correction are also incorporated to ensure correct reading of data. The distributed finder pattern and Reed-Solomon error correction allow the symbol to be identified and decoded from any point within the symbol, greatly reducing the possibility that localized damage will cause a read failure.

Grid Matrix is designed to encode the entire Chinese character set (GB 2312-1980) efficiently. Grid Matrix can also encode seven-bit ASCII, numeric and binary data. Grid Matrix can encode any combination of data types in the same symbol. Grid Matrix is intended for broad use in both printed symbols and mobile phone display applications.

With maximum error correction, the symbology is capable of encoding 3 to 391 Chinese characters, 5 to 634 bytes, 10 to 1018 Latin characters, or 12 to 1524 numerals. At minimum error correction levels, the symbol can encode approximately 80% more data of each data type.

According to Grid Matrix's developer, Dr. Xuchuan Fan of Syscan Technology, "Because Grid Matrix is very robust with strong error correction algorithms and has unique features to facilitate omni-directional scanning, it is particularly well suited for applications that could include direct marking on difficult surfaces, harsh environments, and logistic applications where symbols may become dirty or damaged. It is also designed to be highly efficient for all kinds of mobile applications such as mobile ticketing, couponing, and mobile payments."

According to AIM Global President Dan Mullen, "AIM Global is pleased to have led the development and acceptance of Grid Matrix--the first international symbology specification originating from China. China is an incredibly important market for bar code technology and the development of this symbology specification is a key indicator for future global growth."

The Grid Matrix document can be accessed directly at

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