All Projects

Barcode Empire


This project shows an approach to build an open product information repository to handle the lack of accessible repositories linking barcodes to product description. The approach applies crowdsourcing and motivational concepts from pervasive gaming and social networks to provide an incentive for users to scan barcodes, describe products, and check and revise descriptions of others with their mobile phone. This approach has been implemented as an mobile application on the Android Platform.



The overall players goal in the game is to build up an own empire of products and thus to climb to the top of a virtual high society of a real city.

  • Build your Empire: The more products players own, the bigger their empire is. To acquire a product, players use their mobile phone to scan the barcode of a real product, take a photo and enter product information. This activity is rewarded by an amount of virtual coins. The first one to the product scan is announced as the virtual owner of this product.
  • Climb to the top of the High Society in your city: The goal of the game is to get into the highest class of the virtual society. To climb up in this society, players have to acquire products and coins that together define their score. Depending on the scores of players in the same country (or world), each player belongs to one of the five virtual social classes, ranging from “Poor dogs” to “VIP”.
  • Interact with players around you: Players can interact with other players using a real map on which all players have their virtual home bases. The icons of the home depict the social status of the player. Players can invest a certain amount of coins to steal products from each other. Furthermore, players can check as detectives the products of others or participate in trials after another player has been caught while stealing products.

See more details here.

Selected Publications

  • Product Empire – Serious playing with barcodes, Budde, A., Michahelles, F.: Internet of Things 2010 Conference (IoT2010), Tokyo, 2010. download
  • Towards an open product repository using playful crowdsourcing, Budde, A., Michahelles, F., 3. Workshop Digitale Soziale Netze an der 40.Jahrestagung der Gesellschaft für Informatik, Leipzig, September, 2010. download