Barcodes fly under the radar. Everyone knows that they exist. Everyone uses them regularly, especially when they’re going through the self-checkout service at their department store of choice.
But yet, so few of us know how barcodes truly work. This technology, however, powers the organization and distribution of virtually every consumer good on the planet!
With this article, we aim to fix that knowledge gap. In it, we’re going to take some time to talk through not only how barcodes work, but also the different barcode types that exist, so that you’re far better informed as to how this technology works in the world today.
How Does a Barcode Work?
Everyone knows what a barcode looks like — it’s essentially a series of black strips, set in a white background that yields a result when highlighted by a scanner.
But how does this technology work? It’s actually simpler than you might imagine.
Different colors radiate different amounts of light. For instance, black absorbs more light and radiates less, while white reflects much more light.
The scanner tool that reads a barcode throws light on the series of black strips. The light pulses back into the scanner.
Depending on how much light is thrown by each strip, the scanner is able to “read” a unique result from each barcode. This can thus translate into alphanumeric text that tells the scanner what the item with the barcode is.
What Are the Various Barcode Types?
Now that you have an understanding of what a barcode is and how it works, let’s dig into the various types of barcodes out there.
The Code 39 barcode is the oldest type of barcode technology out there. This particular tech is only able to read back alphanumeric strings.
So that means only plain text and numbers can be put into the barcode label. No special characters allowed!
The Code 128 barcode type was at one point perhaps the most prevalent technology used across the world. This tech allows for the use of special characters. It can also differentiate between capital letters and lowercase letters.
The Universal Product Code barcode type is used most commonly for retail applications in the modern-day. This type of technology leverages a c# barcode generator to associate unique product names and company names to a particular item.
The PDF417 barcode type is the one that is the barcode of choice for not only the USPS but also the Department of Homeland Security. This is because of its added security benefits that derive from its 2D, linear structure.
Barcodes, Made Simple
There you have it. Now that you know how barcodes work and what the different barcode types are used for, you should have a much better appreciation for how this technology is used to organize our world.
If you’re looking for more tech advice, you’re in the right place! Be sure to check out the rest of the article available to read on the website before you leave!