Austria-based semiconductor provider AMS and US mobile couponing company Mobeam have designed a solution enabling 1D barcodes on smartphones to be scanned at point-of-sale systems.
According to the companies - demonstrating the new product for the first time at Mobile World Congress, Barcelona - paperless ‘mobile couponing’ has remained elusive because the majority of POS scanners are unable to capture 1D barcodes displayed on smartphones due to their reflective screens, backlit displays, and polarising filters.
To solve this, Mobeam’s light-based beaming technology will integrate with AMS’s digital light sensor optical module, TMD3990. This module combines a colour light sensing feature with proximity detection and IR LED barcode transmit function which is already used in smartphones to disable the touchscreen display. A Mobeam-enabled smartphone will send pulses of light to the POS scanner, which then imitates the black-and-white sequence of a standard barcode.
This will enable phone handset manufacturers to support mobile commerce applications that use barcodes, such as loyalty cards, gift cards, and tickets, the AMS and Mobeam claim. Users will also be able to redeem coupons directly from their smartphones, and participating retailers will not have to manually sort printed coupons, or have to wait for reimbursement.
Full production of the TMD3990 module is scheduled for Q3 2013.