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Ken Berkun's Comments

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At 1:55am on February 18, 2014, Stephen McMahon said…

Hi Ken.  Thanks for the add.  I attended a Manoa Geeks event back in 2008 (I think) at HMSA where you did a presentation of Labels That Talk.  I recall one of the potential usages that I found most intriguing was the idea of audio encoded in the protective glass over artwork that could be read by one of your devices, but invisible to the human eye.

Since then, I've become heavily involved in implementing a system for tracking assets all over the world via bar code labels and RFID tags.  

I'll be moving back to O'ahu this Summer.  I hope to connect with you again at some point and trade stories and maybe gain some more inspiration :)

At 1:41pm on May 13, 2013, Daniel Leuck said…

Hi Ken - We didn't delete your account. We would never remove TechHui's most prolific trouble maker :-) If you require any help with it give me a call.

At 9:20am on May 13, 2013, Greg Batalucco said…

Hi Ken, thanks for the welcome. Not over in Hawaii yet, but possibly in the future. I will send David an email and get in touch with him, thanks for letting him know about me.

Small community over on the islands, but something I like as well. Talk to you soon and thanks again.


At 12:52pm on December 3, 2009, David Neely said…
Fascinating technology last night. Thanks for sharing.
At 8:41pm on October 1, 2009, Robert Coulson said…
Hi Ken,

A little late, but I was able to post the E-waste collection event for this Sunday's
Youth Day at the State Capitol. I posted it in the events section of Thanks again for the introduction to techhui, excellent site!
At 6:25pm on August 10, 2009, Roger Garrett said…
"The Menace of the Micro World : Another look at the world of artificial intelligence", Interface Age, March 1977, by Ken Burkun.
Yup, I found it. I had an article in the same issue, called "The Cube". In fact, I think it may have been my first article, before I became the Northeast Regional editor and had the "The Inventor's Sketchpad" column each month.

I don't have a scanner, but if I can find one I'll scan the whole article and send it to you. Otherwise, I'll bring the issue along to some TechHui meeting so you can reminisce about those days of long ago. :)
At 9:04pm on August 9, 2009, Roger Garrett said…
Hey Ken,

I actually have a lot of the Interface Age issues. I'll have to look through and see if I have that article.

- Roger
At 7:33pm on July 26, 2009, Peter Kay said…
Thanks Ken, much appreciated!
At 8:21pm on July 3, 2008, Ken Berkun said…
Yes, a menu might be a dandy application, especially for the blind. Of course you'd have to record it in each language as we don't do translation (but conceivably could as the technology improves).

Currently high end smart phones have chips powerful enough to do the encoding/decoding, but this technology will move down the chain so that more and more phones will have the capability. But we don't expect to be in cell phones for a few years. We have other nuts to crack first.

We have already signed a letter of understanding with our first licensing customer and are working towards a definitive agreement - so far so good! (Sorry, not free to name names yet.)
At 9:57am on July 2, 2008, Dave Takaki said…
So someone could scan a menu with bar codes and hear the listing in his/her language? And one can rely on the dsp chip sets in a phone to record for a barcode?

Do you have licensing plans in place?

Dave Takaki at SDC Hawaii LLC,
At 6:29pm on April 9, 2008, Ken Berkun said…
Things are pretty good, knock on wood! I'm on the mainland right now meeting with prospects and potential funders and we are being very well received.

I'm very familiar with the mobile barcodes that can be read by cell phone (there are several including QR code, dot code, semacode as well as the UPCs referenced in the blog entry. But all of these, at best, simply take your browser to a web page or display rudimentary information. It's not a great user experience because it is slow. Of course the carriers like it because it brings them traffic.

I hadn't seen ColorZip before, but it is still a low capacity barcode. Of more interest is Microsoft's High Capacity Color Barcode ( This has some potential, but a) we want our product to work with cheap black and white printers and b) we'd have to pay a license fee to Microsoft!

Again, the beauty of our technology is that the sound is encoded right in the barcode, no need to access a computer or the internet.

Thank you for your continued interest. If I don't respond right away it's because I'm on the road and only have time to catch up in the evenings.

At 5:23pm on April 9, 2008, Daniel Leuck said…
Hey Ken. How are things at Labels That Talk?

You might find this blog entry from Gene Phillips of interest.

I was wondering what you thought of ColorZip? Do you think its going to take off in the US?
At 8:48am on January 2, 2008, Ken Berkun said…
Sorry for the delay in answering, I was on vacation. We expect that the retail price of a scanner/recorder (no printer) will be $150 or less. But ultimately you won't need a dedicated scanner because your camera phone will be a scanner. All it needs is our software (if it has a reasonable camera and processor, think smart phone, iPhone, etc.).
At 6:21pm on December 26, 2007, Daniel Leuck said…
That sounds very compelling. How expensive are the readers?
At 2:44pm on December 20, 2007, Ken Berkun said…
No problem, we're fairly open as we are seeking funding and have already applied for a number of patents. Our first market is for talking photographs, going after the $3 Billion scrapbooking market. Then we go after talking prescription labels (huge market, harder to break into) and then a host of secondary markets such as children's books, aids for the blind, industrial usages, etc.

At 2:08pm on December 20, 2007, Daniel Leuck said…
Interesting. What sorts of applications to you envision for this technology? I realize you are early stage, so I understand if you don't want to publish this info on a public board.
At 1:37pm on December 20, 2007, Ken Berkun said…
We're not using color because we want to be able to print on cheap b/w label printers, though we may incorporate color in the future. We are reading far higher density bar codes than what other people are reading with cell phones. A typical Semacode or QR code might contain one or two hundred bytes. Our codes have 8,000 bytes - we store the actual sound data in the bar code, no database look up or web access needed. Hence our image processing requirements are much more challenging.

At 11:19am on December 20, 2007, Daniel Leuck said…
Welcome! Are you guys using HCCB or some other form of color bar codes? I remember last time I was in Tokyo reading about a company in Korea using color bar codes to encode images and other content that can be read by a mobile phone camera. It sounded like interesting technology.


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