We’ve all heard of barcode scanners. If you haven’t, allow me to fill you in. Also known as barcode readers, barcode scanners are machines that read the barcode on most products sold in stores; like a digital price tag. Similar to your standard flatbed scanner (like an average copy machine), barcode readers consist of a lense, light and a sensor that converts optical current into an electrical one. Once the current has been converted, it is then decoded by the scanner so that the computer can read it. It’s as easy as that!
For those of us not in the retail world, the many types of barcode scanners may go unnoticed. There is a lot of confusion regarding the wide variety of barcode scanners, but not to worrry, it’s not as complicated as you may think. For the most part, barcode scanners can be divided into four groups, depending on what kind of technology is employed: laser scanners, pen scanners, LED scanners & camera scanners. For some of us, it is easier to think of the scanners in terms of the housing, such as pen scanners, fixed scanners, handheld, etc.
Pen scanners are held like a pen, and swiped over the barcode as if you were drawing a line with the tip of the scanner. Handheld scanners are probably the most popular, as they simply need to be held in front of the barcode. Fixed scanners, or stationary ones, can be found at most supermarkets.
Let’s examine the insides of barcode scanners. The guts of a barcode scanner depend on the purpose of the scanner. Because this article is just meant to go over the basics, we’ll skip the technical details for now. This is just meant to give you a better idea of what kind of barcode scanners are available. Pen scanners use photodiodes and light to read the barcodes, handheld scanners often use lasers, and then there are LED lights too. There are different kinds of scanners, more than what we’ve discussed so far, but these are the most common.
Again, this is not meant to be the end-all-be-all, definitive, one-stop, explicitly explanatory barcode scanner guide. It is, however, a simple guide for the average consumer, to help provide you with a better understanding of the various types of scanners and what they can be used for. Also, please note that the terms barcode scanner and barcode reader are virtually synonymous. So, with that in mind, please take a few minutes to browse the site and I hope it serves you well. Happy learning!