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How Barcode Scanners Work?

Ben Yumite 2016-09-24 09:20:22
Reading a barcode involves a method to detect the code and transform it into a digital representation. The most common method uses light that is aimed onto one part of the code at a time and detected by a light sensor that reads the reflected light. (Watch a video on how it works)

A dark area will not reflect as much light as a light colored area. The difference is detected with the sensor and sent to the computer. The code is determined by the thickness and spacing of the dark and light areas. A very basic barcode scanner uses a single LED light and light sensor. In this case, the user would need to slide the reader directly over the code.How barcode works. Source: taltech.com
How barcode works. Source: taltech.com

More advanced readers use a laser beam that is automatically scanned over the code with a rotating mirror to illuminate one part of the code at a time. Other methods include a camera to see the code which is interpreted into the corresponding light and dark areas.