You must have seen the black stripes on every product you buy from a shop or shopping mall. Have you ever thought what exactly are those black stripes and what is their use? The black parallel lines are called as Barcode. Barcode is used to represent some sort of information. It can represent a product information, a URL or whatever you might want to encode in it. The lines are parallel to each other. Most of the times you might find some numbers written underneath, it is an identifier which identifies the information contained in the barcode. Barcode was invented very earlier around 1950’s but it became popular when it was adopted as unique identification system by stores.
What Is Barcode
A barcode is an optical, machine-readable, representation of data; the data usually describes something about the object that carries the barcode. The barcode contains parallel black lines which are uniquely printed and contain some information. Each printed line is of varying width. The lines represents a number. You might find a number written below the barcode. The vertical lines represent the same number. Each number is encoded by seven lines of varying width. For example, digit 1 is represented by two white stripes, two black stripes, two white strips and one black strip. Similarly, all others digits have different format.
The barcode contains information about the country in which it was generated, the manufacturer of the product and the product itself.
Types Of Barcode
There are mainly two types of barcode. The first one is 1-D barcode or one-dimensional barcode. In 1-D barcode the data is represented using only parallel lines of varying width. Sometime a number is also found below the encoded lines. The second one is 2-D barcode. In 2-D barcode, the data is represented using dots, rectangles, hexagons and other geometrical shapes. The 2-D barcodes later got different names on the basis who invented them.
One of the most famous barcode is QR-code. QR-code was first used by an automotive company in Japan. It is an array of black and white rectangles. It is mainly used to store the URL of a website. The QR-code can be scanned using a smartphone camera as well.
How Does Barcode Scanners Work
You might find the barcode scanners in shopping malls or any retail stores. The working of barcode scanners is simple. The barcode scanner emits red light. This light is then thrown onto the black and white stripes. The amount of light reflected by these lines identifies the code.
Another technology uses digital camera to identify the code. A photograph of the code is taken and the code in photo is processed by the computer. The same technology is used today in smartphone to scan the barcode or QR-code. The barcode can be read using smartphone camera.
This was pretty much non-technical about barcodes. Let us know you thought in the comment section below. And as always we are open for your questions.