How Do Barcodes Work?

Did you know that the first barcode was scanned in 1974 at a grocery store in the small city of Troy, Ohio?

Although barcodes have only been around for less than 50 years, most people can’t imagine life without them now. From shopping to keeping track of inventory, barcodes have made life a lot more convenient. Despite our dependency on barcodes, not many people understand the science behind this technology.

Have you ever wondered, “How does a barcode work exactly?” Keep reading to learn the fascinating facts.

What Is a Barcode?

If you imagine a barcode right now, you’d probably picture black and white stripes like a zebra. However, barcodes also have a list of numbers ranging from 0 to 9 on the bottom.

Most people encounter barcodes when they’re grocery shopping, but barcodes can be used on anything that needs to be tracked. For example, hospitals use barcode technology to manage biological samples and even patients who wear a wristband. When you use a barcode image generator, you can document the whereabouts and other important details of any item with ease.

How Does a Barcode Work?

When humans try to translate barcodes, they usually go cross-eyed since there are so many lines and numbers. Barcodes work by assigning an item a unique number code that can get documented when it’s scanned.

One interesting fact is that technically all of these items only need the set of numbers to get tracked. However, the black and white lines were added to help boost computer accuracy since printed numbers can get damaged or blurred easily. Simply put, the black and white lines that you see on your item correspond to the numbers those lines represent beneath them.

When a scanner hovers over the parts of a barcode, red LED light shines and reflects the pattern into a photoelectric cell that creates a binary code of zeros and ones for the computer to register.

What Are the Different Types of Barcodes?

There are two different types of barcodes: 1-dimensional and 2-dimensional. 1D barcodes are the most common type because they contain the most basic but essential product information. These barcodes are universal, which means any type of scanner can process the data.

2D barcodes aren’t as common, but they’re gaining popularity since they can offer more helpful product information. 2D barcodes have the ability to include prices, product images, and inventory levels in addition to the text 1D barcodes provide. Since a special scanner is needed for 2D barcodes, this technology probably won’t become normalized for many years.

How Do Barcodes Work? Now You Know the Facts

How does a barcode work? Now that you’ve learned the interesting facts about the science behind barcodes, you can surprise all of your friends with this trivia. Although barcodes look complex, the mechanisms are refreshingly simple yet convenient. Do you want to keep up with the latest technology news? If so, make sure you bookmark our site so you never miss an important update.

Related Articles

Stay Connected


Latest Articles