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Barcode Reader - Making Sense of Barcodes

A barcode reader picks up the code that is printed on most products sold in stores nowadays. The barcode revolution made the job easier for the person behind the counter, who used to have to type in every price. A barcode reader makes scanning prices and products easier for check-out and inventory.

There are four different types of barcode readers, and every variety of barcode reader has a different design. Many use the same type of technology, which vary from the use of photo sensor to taking graphic images. The smallest type of barcode reader is the “pen” or the “wand” that can easily be held in the hand and transported. This is the least expensive type of barcode reader and uses photo diodide technology which measure the intensity of light in the code. The dark bars absorb light and the white spaces reflect light. The wand barcode reader creates a waveform that reflects these differences. The laser barcode reader works like the pen and the wand and uses a reciprocating mirror or a rotating prism to record different light resolutions and sizes.

The CCD barcode reader uses hundreds of light sensors to measure the voltages across each sensor. This measures the distance between bars rather than picking up differences in light. The newest type of barcode reader is the camera-based reader which actually takes a picture of the barcode through tiny video cameras.

The barcode reader you chose will vary in quality and price from others. The pen has the most basic technology, and while it is very portable, it can only pick up part of the code at a time and has to be swiped across the label. Many people prefer to use laser readers which can be held over the entire code without needing to swipe. One needs to pull a small trigger or press a button to allow the barcode reader to scan the product. Of course, the more sophisticated camera-based barcode reader is more costly than its laser cousins, and more efficient.