Colour barcode in its way to becoming ISO standardised


Fraunhofer guides JAB Code toward standardisation: globally uniform regulations for data exchange and practical application

The JAB Code, developed by ATHENE researchers at the Fraunhofer SIT, is on its way to becoming ISO standardised inter­nationally. JAB Code – Just Another Bar Code – is meant to be ISO-standard by 2022. Thanks to the globally unified regulations for data formats and their applied usage, device manufacturers as well as operator businesses will receive planning security for innovative inventions – an important prerequisite for a successful distribution of the JAB Code in the industry.

© Fraunhofer SIT

The advantage of the color barcode in opposition to the monochrome barcode manifests in its increased data storage capacities on a similarly sized surface. Employment references, certificates and testimonies, but also authenticity certificates for products can be protected through the JAB Code. JAB Code does not fall under compulsory licensing but is open source and can already be used in practice. It can be tested at

 Black-and-white barcodes can be found everywhere in our environment: on product packaging, shipping labels, books and more. However, these barcodes only contain a small amount of data. That is why oftentimes, referrals with further information about the product have to be placed on websites in addition. The JAB Code by the Fraunhofer SIT utilises colours as a third dimension, which enables the display of more information on the same surface. This way, the color code does not have to rely on database referrals and links as resources, but can store the information in its colourful squares.

JAB Code uses the colours Cyan, Yellow, Magenta, Black as well as mixtures of these base colours. With up to eight different colours, the barcode is as resilient as its black-and-white counterpart. Apart from that, the JAB Code is not only limited to a square form, but can take on more versatile forms, expanding the scope for design.

JAB Code was developed on behalf of the Federal Office for Information Security BSI. The colour code is on its way to becoming ISO-certified for ISA 23634 (further information at and a standard version will presumably be available as early as the beginning of 2021. The source code can be found at GitHub under Licence LGPL v2.1 (free utilization for any purpose possible with credit to the Fraunhofer SIT as developer):

Further information in the press release at Fraunhofer SIT (German)


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