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Focus: RFID and Automated Identification and Data Collection (AIDC)

Feature Article from Our RFID and AIDC Subject Area - See All

From SCDigest's OnTarget e-Magazine

Sept. 22, 2011

RFID and AIDC News: New Bar Code Symbology for Double Byte Characters


Standard for Han Xin Code, Named for Ancient Military Leader, Released this Week, Developed by AIM China


SCDigest Editorial Staff


In what may turn out to be pretty important automated data collection news, AIM, a trade organization for automatic identification solution providers and developer of many industry standards, announced this week a standard for a new two-dimensional bar code specifically designed to encode double byte Asian characters.

SCDigest Says:


As an aside, Han Xin was an important military leader in China around the 200 BC time frame and was one of the key figures establishing the Han dynasty there.

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Han Xin Code is a two-dimensional matrix symbology made up of an array of square modules arranged in an overall square pattern. Unique finder patterns assist in easy location of its position, size and inclination.

The new code was first made available for public review in comment in May of this year. The symbology was developed by AIM China.

In May, Dr. Clive Hohberger, AIM board chairman, said that "AIM is pleased to be able to recognize this contribution from China. Han Xin Code represents a significant opportunity for AIM member companies seeking to provide solutions to the Chinese market."

In addition to the symbology's capability to efficiently encode double-byte Chinese characters (GB18030), Han Xin Code can efficiently encode numeric and ASCII characters, plus octet bytes such as graphic and audio information. The symbology includes user-selectable levels of Reed-Solomon error correction to ensure correct decoding even with damaged symbols.

There are eighty-four sizes (versions) of Han Xin Code symbols. Version 1 measures 23 modules x 23 modules; Version 84 measures 189 modules x 189 modules. Module dimension is user-specified to enable production of symbols by a wide variety of techniques.

Maximum symbol data capacities are 7827 numeric characters, 4350 ASCII characters, 2174 Common Chinese Characters in Region one or Region 2, 1739 2-byte Chinese characters data, 1044 4-byte Chinese characters, and 3261 binary byte data. Multiple data types can be encoded in the same symbol.

As with all AIM symbology specifications, Han Xin Code has undergone a rigorous review process in AIM's Technical Symbology Committee (TSC) to ensure that a new symbology offers unique or novel features that provide additional benefits to the user community and that it is robust from both a printing and reading perspective.

According to Chuck Evanhoe, AIM board chairman, "AIM is pleased with the close cooperation of AIM China and the Han Xin Code development team in developing this International Technical Specification. This symbology has already been deployed in a variety of applications within China and this standard will help vendors and end users adopt it for additional applications with confidence. We encourage the submission of this symbology for consideration as an international standard under ISO/IEC."


A Look at the New Han Xin Code, Designed for Double Byte Characters




The look of the Han Xin code has obvious similarities to the PDF417 symbology.


(RFID and AIDC Story Continued Below)



"China is a vital and vibrant market for bar code technology and the development of this symbology specification is a key for future global growth in the region," Evanhoe added. AIM appreciates the hard work and dedication of the Han Xin Code team, those who offered comments and recommendations during public review, and, of course, the members of the TSC who dedicated their time and expertise to ensuring the robustness of the specification."

AIM documents are available for purchase from the AIM online store. The Han Xin Code document can be accessed directly online. A package with demonstration Han Xin Code encoding and decoding software programs is also available in the AIM online store. Images are available upon request.

As an aside, Han Xin was an important military leader in China around the 200 BC time frame and was one of the key figures establishing the Han dynasty there.

Support for the new symbology by printer and scanner manufacturers is unclear - we'll  try to get some clarification on that in the next few weeks. Today, manufacturers can usually add this kind of support very quickly, through "soft" upgrades that require no hardware changes.

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