High Capacity Color Barcode (HCCB) is a technology developed by Microsoft for encoding data in a 2D "barcode" using clusters of colored triangles instead of the square pixels conventionally associated with 2D barcodes or QR codes. Data density is increased by using a palette of 4 or 8 colors for the triangles, although HCCB also permits the use of black and white when necessary. It has been licensed by the ISAN International Agency for use in its International Standard Audiovisual Number standard, and serves as the basis for the Microsoft Tag mobile tagging application.
The technology was created by Gavin Jancke, an engineering director at Microsoft Research. Quoted by BBC News in 2007, he said that HCCB was not intended to replace conventional barcodes. "'It's more of a 'partner' barcode', he said. 'The UPC barcodes will always be there. Ours is more of a niche barcode where you want to put a lot of information in a small space.'"
HCCB uses a grid of colored triangles to encode data. Depending on the target use, the grid size (total number of symbols), symbol density (the printed size of the triangles), and symbol count (number of colors used) can be varied. HCCB can use an eight-, four-, or two-color (black-and-white) palette. Microsoft claims that laboratory tests using standard off-the-shelf printers and scanners have yielded readable eight-color HCCBs equivalent to approximately 3,500 characters per square inch.