Thursday, August 10, 2017

How Barcodes and Barcode Scanners Works

Remember those black and white bars on every other manufactured product. Shampoos, cereal boxes and on every beauty product, these intermediate black, and white lines are called "Barcodes". 
Barcodes as many of you probably think are not just zebra textures to enhance the beauty of the already captivating product. These codes actually carry within themselves a series of information relating to the production source and price of the product. These barcodes first appeared on a pack of chewing gum produced by the Wrigley Company, after that they were used on every item that you set eyes on in a store. 

This pattern of white and black lines carry in themselves information through which you can track the item, they also have the price etched in them along with the stock level. So if you have to reprice all the items you can do so easily by simply varying the information regarding the barcode. If you're running a big part of Old-Navy or Wal-Mart how can you be sure that you are selling all your items and they are not being stolen, bar codes help out a lot on that as well? A thief in wall-mart will get caught before he steps out. 

To run a bar code-based system you need three parts. First is the central computer which keeps the record of your sold items, the price of all products and a number of items you have left and how many you have run out on. Second are the barcodes you already have on the products and third and the most important is the barcode scanner present at every check out point. 

Working of the Barcode-Scanner:
Most important is to be able to read the barcodes. The barcode scanners quickly read the white and black lines and feed them to a computer which quickly displays the coded information. 
There are three parts to a barcode scanner:
Illumination System: The scanner shines a red LED light or laser light onto the code. Keep in mind that the white areas of the barcode will reflect more light and the black areas will reflect the least. 

Sensor/Converter: The sensor will achieve the reflected light in the form of an analog signal. Which will be a set of on-off pulses corresponding to illumination (white stripes) and lack of illumination (black stripes). This signal will be further detected by a converter which will convert it to the form of binary digits of 1's and 0's (e.g. 1011001). Decoder: A decoder will decipher these binary digits to the ASCII text format. This decoded information is finally perceived by the computer in decimal format. 

In this article, I only discussed 'Linear Barcode’s and about Linear Barcode-scanners, However, there is also a more complex format "2-D bar codes". Which cannot be deciphered using a linear scanner but require a technology of their own.

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