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Five Questions For Andrew Longacre, Research Scientist At Hand Held ProductsFive Questions For Andrew Longacre, Research Scientist At Hand Held Products

A highlight of Longacre's 26-year career at Hand Held Products was the invention of Aztec Code, a matrix-style bar-code symbology used in online ticketing and badges distributed by Homeland Security to U.S. visitors. But Longacre doesn't spend all his time working with numbers; he's been singing in an opera chorus since before the Internet was cool.

Elena Malykhina

August 25, 2006

2 Min Read

Photograph courtesy of Andrew Longacre
Andrew Longacre
Research scientist at Hand Held Products
Interview by Elena Malykhina

Andrew Longacre, research scientist at Hand Held Products


The Aztec Code symbology is represented by a square grid with a bull's-eye in the center, which makes it easier to locate encoded data. "I firmly believe that if people would use Aztec Code to do data capture, it would be better for them."


In 1996, Longacre received the Richard R. Dilling Award for outstanding contributions to advancing automated data-collection technology. "I was inspired by my father, who had a Ph.D., which was rare in the 1920s. But it was probably my 10th grade math teacher, a very beautiful woman, who got me turned on to mathematics."


Longacre recently demonstrated the intelligence of data-collection technology by solving a Sudoku puzzle using imaging-engine software he created. "It started out as a fun project inspired by my son-in-law, who argued that a computer could never solve a Sudoku. It turns out that a computer can."


"When I was 35, I put together a 'life list' of things I hoped to do before I passed on. I've played golf at St. Andrews, heard Pavarotti sing live, and ridden in a hot-air balloon. But I haven't yet seen the pyramids."


Another item on Longacre's list was to sing in an opera chorus. "When the chance came in 1993 to be part of the chorus for Aida at the Syracuse Opera, I knew immediately it was something I wanted to do. It's just such fun!"

About the Author(s)

Elena Malykhina

Technology Journalist

Elena Malykhina began her career at The Wall Street Journal, and her writing has appeared in various news media outlets, including Scientific American, Newsday, and the Associated Press. For several years, she was the online editor at Brandweek and later Adweek, where she followed the world of advertising. Having earned the nickname of "gadget girl," she is excited to be writing about technology again for InformationWeek, where she worked in the past as an associate editor covering the mobile and wireless space. She now writes about the federal government and NASA’s space missions on occasion.

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