Introduction to Barcode Reading

A barcode, consists of a series of parallel black and white bar with spaces of varying width, is a representative of data in a visual, machine-readable form. Today, barcode is mostly used in losed distribution chains, for the administration of logistics processes.

The first barcode was invented by Norman J Woodland in year 1948. He was inspired by the dots and dashes of Morse code to come up with a similar method to simplifying inventory management and customer check-out. Later, Norman J Woodland filed a patent for this solution with his partner, Bernard Silver in the year of 1952.

Types of Barcodes

1. 1D Barcode

1D barcodes, also known as linear codes are commonly used on consumer goods which can store product’s information, using variable-width lines and spaces to  encode data. 1D barcodes can be scanned by camera-based imaging scanners or laser scanners.

2. 2D Barcode

2D barcodes, the next phase in barcode technology. It uses patterns of square, dots and shapes to encrypt information. Due to data can be encoded vertically and horizontally, 2D barcodes can store more information than 1D barcode like images, product descriptions and website addresses. 2D barcodes can be scanned by camera-based imaging scanners.

The Benefits of Using Barcode

1. Improve Accuracy

Barcode eliminate human errors and provide a much more accurate and reliable data.

2. Reduce Employee Training Time

Barcode system is easy to use and only takes minutes to gain familiarity with hand-held scanner for barcode reading.

3. Inventory Control

Barcode reader makes it easier to control over inventory status. Since the information is scanned directly into a computer, a fast and reliable data can be calculated through stock inventory instantly.

4. Better Data

Barcodes can be customized as needed and help to make a more informed decisions with provided information.

What is a Barcode Reader?

A barcode reader is a device that captures and decodes the information contained by a barcode then transmitted the data to a computer, and showing instant output of accurate information, and help to streamline any operations.

There are two types of barcode readers: laser scanner and camera-based imaging scanner.

1. Laser Scanner

Laser scanner sweeps a laser back and forth across a barcode to capture and decode the information. It can perform up to 1,000 scans per second and eliminate the possibility of human errors. Besides this, laser scanner also can read a barcode from 15 cm to 60 cm away.

2. Camera-based Imaging Scanner

Camera-based imaging scanner uses a camera to capture an image of a barcode, then uses image processing technique to decode the barcodes.  Camera-based imaging scanners can read 2D codes, and capture images of codes for data analysis and barcode quality check.


Today, barcode is not only the universal symbol of a purchasable product, it also can be used for logistics tracking and tracing, identify patients in hospitals, validate prescriptions for patients, exchange contact information, automate manufacturing processes and much, much more.

Barcodes are not only simple, but the best and effective way to store data which help businesses to get a fast and accurate item verification or full traceability of inventory status. With the right barcode inventory system, your business and work will definitely stay efficient, organized and error-free.