Scanning Through The Past, Looking To The Future

Scanning Through The Past, Looking To The FutureFor many years barcode scanning has been the a light and easy way to convert digital data into substantial information. The black and white lines produce a binary signal that is read using a electronic light scanner.

The scanner takes the code information then processes it to identify with a base set of information. This information is the used to query databases that result in the access of whatever the barcode is meant to identify.

Bar Codes in Retail

Retail establishments use this code to identify merchandise. The concise format transports easily and enables the stores to pull up the merchandise information quickly and effectively. The most common application that is most visible is price scanning of the items in which are being purchased. Without a proper scan, the coded items being bought are often manually entered.

This is just the surface level of what scanning can do. Inventory scanners are utilized to document when an item arrives and those who stock the shelves will scan again to indicate that the item is ready for sale. Companies like WalMart have revolutionized this system by adding a reporting system to their distribution center that takes count of how many items are being sold. The distribution center then allocates the amount and readies those items for shipment.

QR Code

As time progresses, so does the need to process more information in a faster amount of time. The Quick Response, or QR Code has become the next generation of optical code reading. The QR Code is able to contain greater amounts of information than the binary bar code which only stored a numeral algorithm. Originally developed to track automobiles from the plant to the sales lot, the QR Code has found itself a pleasant niche in web oriented technology. Lengthy URLs can easily be scanned and then accessed using the optical scanner. The QR Code is also able to provide access limitations and redirect unauthorized users by utilizing encryption methods directly on the code itself. This makes QR Code scanning a preferred method where the utmost in security measures are required.

Tools of the Trade

The standard scanning device has always been the optical scanner. Produced in various forms that include hand-held, stand-up, mirror mounted, and even finger types, these scanners emit a red low-level laser that reads the code and transmits identification information to the associated database. As optical technology progressed, scanning can now be completed using real life imagery. The scanned image of the code is collected by a camera lens such as on a cell phone, tablet, or hand held camera which then accesses the database to render the information needed. With the multitasking functions of tablets, this method is becoming increasingly popular.

Google Glass

In early 2013, Google announced the release of its optical head-mounted display, or OHMD. Commonly called Google Glass, this optical device is one part camera, one part scanning device, and one part smart device. The general idea of this technology is to have a heads-up display on an Android device that is capable of voice recognition. This allows users to scan and access information without the use of their hands or taking their eyes away from what they’re doing (such as driving). Audio is transmitted back using a Bone Conduction Transducer, which in simple terms means that it pulses audio directly to your right eardrum. Common working applications for Google Glass range from heads-up navigation and information to live action video recording. All of which can be voice commanded or by using the touch pad on the device.

The Future is Here

The invention of the barcode scanning system was far and beyond ahead of its time and its applications are far to efficient and resourceful. The way in which codes are being scanned is a different story. By using devices like Google Glass, the scanner can easily access a multitude of information simultaneously.

Robert Cordray

Robert Cordray

I'm a business owner and entrepreneur turned freelance writer who enjoys writing about business, and Technology. I have experience in writing software, mobile app development, and information systems.

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