Barcode readers ensure better functioning of business processes with efficient and accurate automatic identification of products. Various barcode technologies have evolved that help in tracking inventory tracking, monitoring stock movement, increasing operational efficiency, improving employee productivity, etc.
Barcode Reader Technologies:
Deciding on which barcode reader technology depends upon the type of barcode that will be scanned, the environment in which it will be used, and the connection type required (i.e. USB, serial, or keyboard).
Pen-style barcode readers, also called wand barcode readers, consist of a light source and a photodiode placed next to each other at the tip of the pen. The dark color of bars absorbs light while the white spaces reflect light, thereby making a specific pattern of waveform.
They do require the user to pass the wand over the barcode at a consistent rate of speed and at a particular angle. The pen-type readers are not the most efficient scanners, but they are small, extremely durable, and economical.
The brightness and sharpness of laser beam ensures preciseness and greater accuracy in reading barcodes. Laser scanners can read the barcodes from greater distances and are ideal for applications where barcodes need to be read in bright light.
CCD (Charged Coupled Device) readers, also called linear imager barcode scanners, consist of a series of tiny light sensors that measure the intensity of light that is right in front of them. Linear imagers can effectively read barcodes from a few inches to several feet away.
Camera Based Readers
The latest in the barcode reader technology is the camera-based barcode readers or 2D imaging scanners. They utilize a small camera to take an image of the barcode and then process this image using advanced digital image processing techniques to decode the barcode. This reader forms an image using sensors arranged in hundreds of rows. 2D barcode scanners can even retrieve information from barcode labels that they are wrinkled or damaged. These scanners have capability to read barcodes moving at faster rates like cartons on a conveyor belt. 2D Barcode Scanners read barcodes omnidirectionally, so the barcodes can be orientated in any direction. Some 2D barcode scanners can also capture digital images and signatures.
Omnidirectional Barcode Scanners
Omnidirectional barcode scanners disperse laser beams in every. And direction making it possible to read the barcode because from every possible angle. These scanners have higher barcode scanning capability with scan ranges varying between few inches to several feet. Omnidirectional barcode scanners can be put to use in retail environments where barcodes have to be read at a distance of few inches or in industries where barcodes have be read from a distance of few because of feet in harsh conditions.
Cell Phone Cameras
Barcode scanning apps are now available for certain cell phones with cameras. Some 2D barcodes like QR and Data Matrix codes are optimized for scanning by cell phones. Although this technology is still in its nascent stage, it opens a wide range of opportunities for possible applications. At present, iPhone and a few phones using the Google Android platform have barcode scanning apps available for use. Most of these apps are designed as shopping tools. They use the barcode number to search a number of web sites. And like Amazon and Google, because to pull up product information, price comparisons, and customer reviews. Some will even utilize the GPS in the phone to locate the nearest store that has the item because it’s in stock.
The barcode reader should be fast, easy to use, and durable enough. And to withstand the working conditions. Whether it be in an office, retail store, factory, warehouse, or outside in a work yard or vehicle.