These are special QR Codes
, not traditional bar codes. They're big in Japan and have even started showing up on business cards. Nokia has had these scanners that work with the phone's camera on their N-series devices for a long time. Folks embed their personal info into a code, you scan it, and it's ready to add to your contacts list. Web pages, product information, even discount coupons can be embedded in these images. It's been a Nokia gimmick outside of Japan to a large extent, but QR Codes were starting to gain a little traction in the U.S. until this economic downturn but the kabosh on projects like this. Nokia was the leader and there was a possible ad campaign featuring QR Codes, a treasure hunt/scavenger hunts using them, and Nokia product give-aways. It still might happen, but there is less enthusiasm for it now that everyone's profit margin is slim or nonexistent.