Navigation Links
Packaging expert sees a social revolution in the evolving barcode
Date:10/13/2011

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. What if you could trace the history of everything you buy back to its origins? Using your smart phone camera, you could learn what factory made the ingredients in your heart medication, what country grew the corn in your breakfast cereal, or even how to recycle the phone. You could follow the whole life cycle of a product and everyone who handled it along the way to ensure that the medicine you're taking isn't counterfeit and the food you're eating is safe.

This reality is on the horizon, said University of Illinois food science and human nutrition professor Scott Morris, an expert on the history and evolution of packaging and author of "Food and Package Engineering," a new textbook published by Wiley Blackwell. Barcodes, the familiar black-and-white labels on packages that began as a means to scan prices or track inventory, are evolving into a broader class of identifiers in new and startling ways, said Morris, who also is a professor of agricultural and biological engineering at Illinois. As the technology advances, these electronic identifiers allow access to more information about the contents and history of products and are opening new channels of communication between buyers and sellers.

The QR code, a new species of two-dimensional barcode that can be scanned with a cell phone, now supplies a direct link between the shopper in the store and information about the scanned product online.

"Customers' experience and interaction with packaging are undergoing radical and unprecedented changes," Morris wrote in an article in Packaging World Magazine early this year. "Emerging now is a more complex system that includes an entire peer group of customers giving continuous, real-time analysis of the product."

Manufacturers and retailers are trying to take advantage of this new technology-driven interaction, but they are also struggling to cope, Morris said. The shopper has unprecedented power to identify the best products at the best prices he or she can find. And those who are unhappy with their purchases can let the world know about it in real time.

Companies have a lot at stake and a lot to gain from more sophisticated barcodes, Morris said. Those who embrace the changes can quickly enlist the online crowd to help develop their products and packaging. And identifiers that capture the life history of each package and its contents can dramatically enhance the security, accountability and traceability of the items people purchase and use every day, he said.

Most people are surprised to learn, for example, that pharmaceutical companies in the U.S. rarely track their inventory once it leaves the manufacturing plant, Morris said. This has resulted in a gray market of drugs that are stolen and redistributed. (In one famous case in March, 2010, thieves cut a hole in the roof of a warehouse owned by Eli Lilly & Co. and made off with $75 million in prescription drugs.) Some of these items go to other countries and some end up on pharmacy shelves in the U.S. via unscrupulous distributors, Morris said.

A more sophisticated system could help identify and isolate contaminated drugs, foods or other dangerous products anywhere in the supply chain, Morris said, limiting harm to customers and reducing liability for producers.

If used properly, a global identification system would increase efficiency and profits, expanding the "just-in-time" delivery of goods to retailers. It also would allow companies to get a more detailed picture of the locations, preferences and buying habits of customers, Morris said.

Even though barcodes, QR codes and even RFID tags (which are read by radio waves rather than scanners) are available, Morris said, the structure of the actual identifier is a work in progress. Several organizations, in particular GS1, the global consortium that allocates barcodes, are developing new standards for these identifiers.

"The format is not the issue here," Morris said. "The issue is, what information can be carried with a physical object, and what use do we make of it? That's where it really gets interesting. Because then you're not just dealing with a can of soup, a bottle of pills or an aircraft part. You're dealing with the whole global economy all at once."


'/>"/>

Contact: Diana Yates
diya@illinois.edu
217-333-5802
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Source:Eurekalert  

Related medicine news :

1. Infant Head Bed Celebrates Launch of New Web Site and Packaging by Offering 20 Percent Discount on Plagiocephaly Prevention Pillow
2. My1Stop.com New Packaging Supplies Offering for Distribution Centers and Small Business Shipping
3. KitPackers Offers 3MTM Repackaging Capability
4. Omega Design Presented Pharmaceutical Packaging Solutions at the Healthcare Packaging Conference & Workshop 2010
5. Scientists unwrap DNA packaging to gain insight into cells
6. Cigarette Packaging Still Too Alluring, Studies Find
7. Dieters More Likely to Trust Food Packaging
8. Local Carrollton Center Hosting More than 50 Autism Experts from Coast-to-Coast
9. Silverchair Learning Systems Enhances Product Expertise with New Hires
10. Register Online for this Year's Horst Senior Living Conference on April 8 Featuring Keynote Speaker and Senior Housing Expert Jim Moore
11. Experts call for acceleration of research and interventions for prematurity and stillbirth
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Packaging expert sees a social revolution in the evolving barcode
(Date:2/23/2017)... ... February 23, 2017 , ... ... content provider for the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence ... organizations in the National Health Service (NHS) to search, order and purchase medical ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... ... February 23, 2017 , ... Dr. David Mahon leads Siena ... 89052. Dr. Mahon was named a 2017 Top Patient Rated Henderson Dentist ... online directory that recognizes local physicians and dentists who have earned high ratings and ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... ... , ... ERT, a global data and technology company that ... leading clinical development service provider, has selected ERT’s Trial Oversight suite as its ... to an array of circumstances including the use of multiple data capture modalities ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Healthcare Research & Analytics® (HRA®) in cooperation ... cancer, has produced a seminal study that asked cancer survivors and their caregivers ... a webinar, Defining Compassionate Care Through the Voices of Patients and Advocates that ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... VA – , ... ... coming. It’s the perfect opportunity for the nation to come ... a college basketball bracket – with its favorite fruit – ... is encouraging apple lovers to join the “Apple Madness” bracket ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/23/2017)... Feb. 23, 2017   SeraCare Life Sciences ... in vitro diagnostics manufacturers and clinical laboratories, is ... Implementation of NGS-Based Tests" to be hosted by ... at 11am Eastern Standard Time (US). ... the need for improved performance and global standardization ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... DIEGO , Feb. 23, 2017 ... a clinical-stage oncology drug development company, announces that ... and Drug Administration (FDA) authorizing the initiation a ... therapeutic treatment for pancreatic cancer. MVT-1075 ( 177 ... radioimmunotherapy (RIT). MabVax plans to initiate the phase ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... This report analyzes analyzes the worldwide markets for Wound Debridement Products ... the US, Canada , Japan ... , Latin America , and Rest ... period 2015 through 2022. Also, a six-year historic analysis is ... from primary and secondary research. Company profiles are primarily based ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: