When you checkout from a supermarket, the person at the counter checks all that you have bought by flashing a small light at a set of lines marked somewhere on every item. How does this system of checking work?
A barcode is machine-readable information. It allows data to be collected accurately and rapidly about the product such as what product it is, the country where it was manufactured, prices, stocks left and so on.
A Barcode symbol consists of a series of parallel bars and spaces. Each
of these wide and narrow bars and spaces in the pattern represents a
character which in turn represents some kind of a code. Such as,
numbers 00-13 is the country code for USA and Canada, 45 for Japan and
890 for India.
How is the barcode read?
A barcode reader uses a scanning device which is
basically a photo sensor. It measures the relative widths of the bars
and spaces, translates the different patterns back into regular
characters, and sends them on to a computer or portable terminal. Here
the original data is recovered.
A bar code works like a light when turned on in a dark room. You see the walls and furniture in the room by the light reflected from these items.
The scanning device contains a small sensory reading element. This sensor detects the light being reflected back from the bar code, and converts the light energy into electrical energy.
The result is an electrical signal that can be converted into data.
Scanners employ various technologies to "read" codes. The two most
common are lasers and cameras. Scanners may be fixed position type or
History of Barcodes
1948, a local food shop owner Philadelphia (Pennsylvania) requested
Bernard Silver, a research student to devise a method of automatically
information during checkout. Bernard Silver joined together with fellow
research student Joseph Woodland to work on a solution. After four
years of hard work, Woodland and Silver developed a method of "article
classification through the medium of identifying patterns" and got it
patented on the 7 October 1952.
Thus began the system of barcodes. The first product to have a bar code
was Wrigley's Gum. Bar codes were first used commercially in 1966, but
it was soon realized that there would have to be a common standard all
over the world to derive maximum benefit.
The Universal Product Code (UPC) was the first bar code
symbology to be widely adopted. This was on 3 April 1973. Foreign
interest in UPC led to the adoption of the EAN (European Article
Numbering) code format, similar to UPC, in December 1976.
Currently, the United States and Canada
use UPC bar codes as their standard for retail labeling, whereas the
rest of the world uses EAN. Numerous other methods of bar-coding have
evolved ever since. Originally barcodes
were, stored data in the widths and spacing of printed parallel lines,
but nowadays they also come in patterns of dots, concentric circles,
and hidden in images. Also today we have numeric-only barcodes, alphanumeric barcodes and 2-Dimensional barcodes.
Consider a barcode found on a loaf of bread which contains a 12-digit product
number. When this number is scanned by the cashier, it's transmitted to
the store's computer which finds the record associated with that item
number in its database. The matching item record contains a description
of the product,
vendor name, price, quantity-on-hand, etc. The computer instantly does
a "price lookup" and displays the price on the cash register (it also
subtracts the quantity purchased from the quantity-on-hand.) This
entire transaction is done instantly; think of how long it would take
the cashier to key in a 12-digit number for every item you wanted to
Barcodes are thus a time saving, cost effective and accurate means of handling and checking large numbers of consumer goods.
Sorry. Due to our site's regulations and policies, your message has not been posted. Our moderating team has been notified about your message. If the message is found to be genuine and still did not get posted, you may not post the message again as it will automatically get posted for you within 24hrs time (excluding weekends).
- The Indiaparenting Team