Gadgets | Technopolis

RedLaser iPhone App

It’s a fascinating new App – but it will get you some funny looks

RedLaser iPhone App

Image: Hugh Threlfall

December 29 2009
Jonathan Margolis

This amazing bar code-reader iPhone App may seem suitable only for the most obsessive of bargain-hunting shoppers, but try it; whether from a business point of view or as an example of extraordinary technology, you will find it remarkable value for not much over £1.

With RedLaser you simply line up the iPhone’s camera with a product bar code, press a button and in a second or two get not only a normally accurate identification of the product, which is kind of neat, if pointless, but also a really pretty robust price comparison with Amazon.co.uk and a substantial number of other web vendors.

The iPhone camera is not exactly known for its great performance at macro distances, but RedLaser maker Occipital, a lively technology outfit in Boulder, Colorado, has mathematically compensated for out-of-focus bar codes, so even when the code looks like an indistinct mush, this App still normally gets it.

It’s fascinating and educative for anyone interested in the still-developing potential (or scary threat, if you’re a retailer) of the web in business. RedLaser does get you funny looks in shops, though.