A barcode (also bar code) is an optical, machine-readable representation of data; the data usually describes something about the object that carries the barcode. Traditional barcodes systematically represent data by varying the widths and spacings of parallel lines, and may be referred to as linear or one-dimensional (1D). Later, two-dimensional (2D) variants were developed, using rectangles, dots, hexagons and other geometric patterns, called matrix codes or 2D barcodes, although they do not use bars as such. Initially, barcodes were only scanned by special optical scanners called barcode readers. Later application software became available for devices that could read images, such as smartphones with cameras.
The barcode was invented by Norman Joseph Woodland and Bernard Silver and patented in the US in 1952 (US Patent 2,612,994). The invention was based on Morse code that was extended to thin and thick bars. However, it took over twenty years before this invention became commercially successful. An early use of one type of barcode in an industrial context was sponsored by the Association of American Railroads in the late 1960s. Developed by General Telephone and Electronics (GTE) and called KarTrak ACI (Automatic Car Identification), this scheme involved placing colored stripes in various combinations on steel plates which were affixed to the sides of railroad rolling stock. Two plates were used per car, one on each side, with the arrangement of the colored stripes encoding information such as ownership, type of equipment, and identification number. The plates were read by a trackside scanner, located for instance, at the entrance to a classification yard, while the car was moving past. The project was abandoned after about ten years because the system proved unreliable after long-term use.
Barcodes became commercially successful when they were used to automate supermarket checkout systems, a task for which they have become almost universal. Their use has spread to many other tasks that are generically referred to as automatic identification and data capture (AIDC). The very first scanning of the now-ubiquitous Universal Product Code (UPC) barcode was on a pack of Wrigley Company chewing gum in June 1974. QR codes, a specific type of 2D barcode, have recently become very popular.
Other systems have made inroads in the AIDC market, but the simplicity, universality and low cost of barcodes has limited the role of these other systems, particularly before technologies such as radio-frequency identification (RFID) became available after 2000.
In 1948 Bernard Silver, a graduate student at Drexel Institute of Technology in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US overheard the president of the local food chain, Food Fair, asking one of the deans to research a system to automatically read product information during checkout. Silver told his friend Norman Joseph Woodland about the request, and they started working on a variety of systems. Their first working system used ultraviolet ink, but the ink faded too easily and was expensive.
Convinced that the system was workable with further development, Woodland left Drexel, moved into his father's apartment in Florida, and continued working on the system. His next inspiration came from Morse code, and he formed his first barcode from sand on the beach. "I just extended the dots and dashes downwards and made narrow lines and wide lines out of them." To read them, he adapted technology from optical soundtracks in movies, using a 500-watt incandescent light bulb shining through the paper onto an RCA935 photomultiplier tube (from a movie projector) on the far side. He later decided that the system would work better if it were printed as a circle instead of a line, allowing it to be scanned in any direction.
On 20 October 1949, Woodland and Silver filed a patent application for "Classifying Apparatus and Method", in which they described both the linear and bull's eye printing patterns, as well as the mechanical and electronic systems needed to read the code. The patent was issued on 7 October 1952 as US Patent 2,612,994. In 1951, Woodland moved to IBM and continually tried to interest IBM in developing the system. The company eventually commissioned a report on the idea, which concluded that it was both feasible and interesting, but that processing the resulting information would require equipment that was some time off in the future.
During his time as an undergraduate, David Collins worked at the Pennsylvania Railroad and became aware of the need to automatically identify railroad cars. Immediately after receiving his master's degree from MIT in 1959, he started work at GTE Sylvania and began addressing the problem. He developed a system called KarTrak using blue and red reflective stripes attached to the side of the cars, encoding a six-digit company identifier and a four-digit car number. Light reflected off the stripes was fed into one of two photomultipliers, filtered for blue or red.
The Boston and Maine Railroad tested the KarTrak system on their gravel cars in 1961. The tests continued until 1967, when the Association of American Railroads (AAR) selected it as a standard, Automatic Car Identification, across the entire North American fleet. The installations began on 10 October 1967. However, the economic downturn and rash of bankruptcies in the industry in the early 1970s greatly slowed the rollout, and it was not until 1974 that 95% of the fleet was labeled. To add to its woes, the system was found to be easily fooled by dirt in certain applications, which greatly affected accuracy. The AAR abandoned the system in the late 1970s, and it was not until the mid-1980s that they introduced a similar system, this time based on radio tags.
The railway project had failed, but a toll bridge in New Jersey requested a similar system so that it could quickly scan for cars that had purchased a monthly pass. Then the U.S. Post Office requested a system to track trucks entering and leaving their facilities. These applications required special retroreflector labels. Finally, Kal Kan asked the Sylvania team for a simpler (and cheaper) version which they could put on cases of pet food for inventory control.
In 1967, with the railway system maturing, Collins went to management looking for funding for a project to develop a black-and-white version of the code for other industries. They declined, saying that the railway project was large enough, and they saw no need to branch out so quickly.
Collins then quit Sylvania and formed the Computer Identics Corporation. As its first innovations, Computer Identics moved from using incandescent light bulbs in its systems, replacing them with helium–neon lasers, and incorporated a mirror as well, making it capable of locating a barcode up to several feet in front of the scanner. This made the entire process much simpler and more reliable, and typically enabled these devices to deal with damaged labels, as well, by recognizing and reading the intact portions.
Computer Identics Corporation installed one of its first two scanning systems in the spring of 1969 at a General Motors (Buick) factory in Flint, Michigan. The system was used to identify a dozen types of transmissions moving on an overhead conveyor from production to shipping. The other scanning system was installed at General Trading Company's distribution center in Carlstadt, New Jersey to direct shipments to the proper loading bay.
In 1966, the National Association of Food Chains (NAFC) held a meeting on the idea of automated checkout systems. RCA, who had purchased the rights to the original Woodland patent, attended the meeting and initiated an internal project to develop a system based on the bullseye code. The Kroger grocery chain volunteered to test it.
In the mid-1970s, the NAFC established the Ad-Hoc Committee for U.S. Supermarkets on a Uniform Grocery-Product Code to set guidelines for barcode development. In addition, it created a symbol-selection subcommittee to help standardize the approach. In cooperation with consulting firm, McKinsey & Co., they developed a standardized 11-digit code for identifying products. The committee then sent out a contract tender to develop a barcode system to print and read the code. The request went to Singer, National Cash Register (NCR), Litton Industries, RCA, Pitney-Bowes, IBM and many others. A wide variety of barcode approaches was studied, including linear codes, RCA's bullseye concentric circle code, starburst patterns and others.
In the spring of 1971, RCA demonstrated their bullseye code at another industry meeting. IBM executives at the meeting noticed the crowds at the RCA booth and immediately developed their own system. IBM marketing specialist Alec Jablonover remembered that the company still employed Woodland, and he established a new facility in North Carolina to lead development.
In July 1972, RCA began an 18-month test in a Kroger store in Cincinnati. Barcodes were printed on small pieces of adhesive paper, and attached by hand by store employees when they were adding price tags. The code proved to have a serious problem; the printers would sometimes smear ink, rendering the code unreadable in most orientations. However, a linear code, like the one being developed by Woodland at IBM, was printed in the direction of the stripes, so extra ink would simply make the code "taller" while remaining readable. So on 3 April 1973, the IBM UPC was selected as the NAFC standard. IBM had designed five versions of UPC symbology for future industry requirements: UPC A, B, C, D, and E.
NCR installed a testbed system at Marsh's Supermarket in Troy, Ohio, near the factory that was producing the equipment. On 26 June 1974, Clyde Dawson pulled a 10-pack of Wrigley's Juicy Fruit gum out of his basket and it was scanned by Sharon Buchanan at 8:01 am. The pack of gum and the receipt are now on display in the Smithsonian Institution. It was the first commercial appearance of the UPC.
In 1971, an IBM team was assembled for an intensive planning session, threshing out, 12 to 18 hours a day, how the technology would be deployed and operate cohesively across the system, and scheduling a roll-out plan. By 1973, the team were meeting with grocery manufacturers to introduce the symbol that would need to be printed on the packaging or labels of all of their products. There were no cost savings for a grocery to use it, unless at least 70% of the grocery's products had the barcode printed on the product by the manufacturer. IBM projected that 75% would be needed in 1975. Yet, although this was achieved, there were still scanning machines in fewer than 200 grocery stores by 1977.
Economic studies conducted for the grocery industry committee projected over $40 million in savings to the industry from scanning by the mid-1970s. Those numbers were not achieved in that time-frame and some predicted the demise of barcode scanning. The usefulness of the barcode required the adoption of expensive scanners by a critical mass of retailers while manufacturers simultaneously adopted barcode labels. Neither wanted to move first and results were not promising for the first couple of years, with Business Week proclaiming "The Supermarket Scanner That Failed" in a 1976 article.
On the other hand, experience with barcode scanning in those stores revealed additional benefits. The detailed sales information acquired by the new systems allowed greater responsiveness to customer habits, needs and preferences. This was reflected in the fact that about 5 weeks after installing barcode scanners, sales in grocery stores typically started climbing and eventually leveled off at a 10–12% increase in sales that never dropped off. There was also a 1–2% decrease in operating cost for those stores, and this enabled them to lower prices and thereby to increase market share. It was shown in the field that the return on investment for a barcode scanner was 41.5%. By 1980, 8,000 stores per year were converting.
In 1981, the United States Department of Defense adopted the use of Code 39 for marking all products sold to the United States military. This system, Logistics Applications of Automated Marking and Reading Symbols (LOGMARS), is still used by DoD and is widely viewed as the catalyst for widespread adoption of barcoding in industrial uses.
Barcodes such as the UPC have become a ubiquitous element of modern civilization, as evidenced by their enthusiastic adoption by stores around the world; most items other than fresh produce from a grocery store now have UPC barcodes. This helps track items and also reduces instances of shoplifting involving price tag swapping, although shoplifters can now print their own barcodes. In addition, retail chain membership cards (issued mostly by grocery stores and specialty "big box" retail stores such as sporting equipment, office supply, or pet stores) use barcodes to uniquely identify consumers, allowing for customized marketing and greater understanding of individual consumer shopping patterns. At the point of sale, shoppers can get product discounts or special marketing offers through the address or e-mail address provided at registration.
They are widely used in the healthcare and hospital settings, ranging from patient identification (to access patient data, including medical history, drug allergies, etc.) to creating SOAP Notes with barcodes to medication management. They are also used to facilitate the separation and indexing of documents that have been imaged in batch scanning applications, track the organization of species in biology, and integrate with in-motion checkweighers to identify the item being weighed in a conveyor line for data collection.
They can also be used to keep track of objects and people; they are used to keep track of rental cars, airline luggage, nuclear waste, registered mail, express mail and parcels. Barcoded tickets allow the holder to enter sports arenas, cinemas, theatres, fairgrounds, and transportation, and are used to record the arrival and departure of vehicles from rental facilities etc. This can allow proprietors to identify duplicate or fraudulent tickets more easily. Barcodes are widely used in shop floor control applications software where employees can scan work orders and track the time spent on a job.
Barcodes are also used in some kinds of non-contact 1D and 2D position sensors. A series of barcodes are used in some kinds of absolute 1D linear encoder. The barcodes are packed close enough together that the reader always has one or two barcodes in its field of view. As a kind of fiducial marker, the relative position of the barcode in the field of view of the reader gives incremental precise positioning, in some cases with sub-pixel resolution. The data decoded from the barcode gives the absolute coarse position. An "address carpet", such as Howell's binary pattern and the Anoto dot pattern, is a 2D barcode designed so that a reader, even though only a tiny portion of the complete carpet is in the field of view of the reader, can find its absolute X,Y position and rotation in the carpet.
2D barcodes can embed a hyperlink to a web page. A capable cellphone might be used to read the pattern and browse the linked website, which can help a shopper find the best price for an item in the vicinity. Since 2005, airlines use an IATA-standard 2D barcode on boarding passes (Bar Coded Boarding Pass (BCBP)), and since 2008 2D barcodes sent to mobile phones enable electronic boarding passes.
Some applications for barcodes have fallen out of use. In the 1970s and 1980s, software source code was occasionally encoded in a barcode and printed on paper (Cauzin Softstrip and Paperbyte are barcode symbologies specifically designed for this application), and the 1991 Barcode Battler computer game system used any standard barcode to generate combat statistics.
The mapping between messages and barcodes is called a symbology. The specification of a symbology includes the encoding of the message into bars and spaces, any required start and stop markers, the size of the quiet zone required to be before and after the barcode, and the computation of a checksum.
Linear symbologies can be classified mainly by two properties:
Some symbologies use interleaving. The first character is encoded using black bars of varying width. The second character is then encoded by varying the width of the white spaces between these bars. Thus characters are encoded in pairs over the same section of the barcode. Interleaved 2 of 5 is an example of this.
Stacked symbologies repeat a given linear symbology vertically.
The most common among the many 2D symbologies are matrix codes, which feature square or dot-shaped modules arranged on a grid pattern. 2D symbologies also come in circular and other patterns and may employ steganography, hiding modules within an image (for example, DataGlyphs).
Linear symbologies are optimized for laser scanners, which sweep a light beam across the barcode in a straight line, reading a slice of the barcode light-dark patterns. Scanning at an angle makes the modules appear wider, but does not change the width ratios. Stacked symbologies are also optimized for laser scanning, with the laser making multiple passes across the barcode.
In the 1990s development of charge coupled device (CCD) imagers to read barcodes was pioneered by Welch Allyn. Imaging does not require moving parts, as a laser scanner does. In 2007, linear imaging had begun to supplant laser scanning as the preferred scan engine for its performance and durability.
2D symbologies cannot be read by a laser, as there is typically no sweep pattern that can encompass the entire symbol. They must be scanned by an image-based scanner employing a CCD or other digital camera sensor technology.
The earliest, and still the cheapest, barcode scanners are built from a fixed light and a single photosensor that is manually "scrubbed" across the barcode.
Barcode scanners can be classified into three categories based on their connection to the computer. The older type is the RS-232 barcode scanner. This type requires special programming for transferring the input data to the application program.
"Keyboard interface scanners" connect to a computer using a PS/2 or AT keyboard–compatible adaptor cable (a "keyboard wedge"). The barcode's data is sent to the computer as if it had been typed on the keyboard.
Like the keyboard interface scanner, USB scanners are easy to install and do not need custom code for transferring input data to the application program. On PCs running Windows the HID interface emulates the data merging action of a hardware "keyboard wedge", and the scanner automatically behaves like an additional keyboard.
Many phones are able to decode barcodes using their built-in camera, as well. Google's mobile Android operating system uses both their own Google Goggles application or third party barcode scanners like Scan. Nokia's Symbian operating system features a barcode scanner, while mbarcode is a QR code reader for the Maemo operating system. In Apple iOS 11, the native camera app can decode QR codes and can link to URLs, join wireless networks, or perform other operations depending on the QR Code contents. Other paid and free apps are available with scanning capabilities for other symbologies or for earlier iOS versions. With BlackBerry devices, the App World application can natively scan barcodes and load any recognized Web URLs on the device's Web browser. Windows Phone 7.5 is able to scan barcodes through the Bing search app. However, these devices are not designed specifically for the capturing of barcodes. As a result, they do not decode nearly as quickly or accurately as a dedicated barcode scanner or portable data terminal.
Barcode verification examines scanability and the quality of the barcode in comparison to industry standards and specifications. Barcode verifiers are primarily used by businesses that print and use barcodes. Any trading partner in the supply chain can test barcode quality. It is important to verify a barcode to ensure that any reader in the supply chain can successfully interpret a barcode with a low error rate. Retailers levy large penalties for non-compliant barcodes. These chargebacks can reduce a manufacturer's revenue by 2% to 10%.
A barcode verifier works the way a reader does, but instead of simply decoding a barcode, a verifier performs a series of tests. For linear barcodes these tests are:
2D matrix symbols look at the parameters:
Depending on the parameter, each ANSI test is graded from 0.0 to 4.0 (F to A), or given a pass or fail mark. Each grade is determined by analyzing the scan reflectance profile (SRP), an analog graph of a single scan line across the entire symbol. The lowest of the 8 grades is the scan grade, and the overall ISO symbol grade is the average of the individual scan grades. For most applications a 2.5 (C) is the minimal acceptable symbol grade.
Compared with a reader, a verifier measures a barcode's optical characteristics to international and industry standards. The measurement must be repeatable and consistent. Doing so requires constant conditions such as distance, illumination angle, sensor angle and verifier aperture. Based on the verification results, the production process can be adjusted to print higher quality barcodes that will scan down the supply chain.
This standard defines the measuring accuracy of a barcode verifier.
This standard defines the quality requirements for barcodes and matrix codes (also called optical codes).
International standards are available from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
In point-of-sale management, barcode systems can provide detailed up-to-date information on the business, accelerating decisions and with more confidence. For example:
Besides sales and inventory tracking, barcodes are very useful in logistics and supply chain management.
Barcode scanners are relatively low cost and extremely accurate compared to key-entry, with only about 1 substitution error in 15,000 to 36 trillion characters entered. The exact error rate depends on the type of barcode.
A first generation, "one dimensional" barcode that is made up of lines and spaces of various widths that create specific patterns.
|Example||Symbology||Continuous or discrete||Bar widths||Uses|
|Australia Post barcode||Discrete||4 bar heights||An Australia Post barcode as used on a business reply paid envelope and applied by automated sorting machines to other mail when initially processed in fluorescent ink .|
|Codabar||Discrete||Two||Old format used in libraries and blood banks and on airbills (out of date)|
|Code 25 – Non-interleaved 2 of 5||Continuous||Two||Industrial|
|Code 25 – Interleaved 2 of 5||Continuous||Two||Wholesale, libraries International standard ISO/IEC 16390|
|Code 11||Discrete||Two||Telephones (out of date)|
|Farmacode or Code 32||Discrete||Two||Italian pharmacode – use Code 39 (no international standard available)|
|Code 39||Discrete||Two||Various – international standard ISO/IEC 16388|
|Code 128||Continuous||Many||Various – International Standard ISO/IEC 15417|
|DX film edge barcode||Neither||Tall/short||Color print film|
|EAN 2||Continuous||Many||Addon code (magazines), GS1-approved – not an own symbology – to be used only with an EAN/UPC according to ISO/IEC 15420|
|EAN 5||Continuous||Many||Addon code (books), GS1-approved – not an own symbology – to be used only with an EAN/UPC according to ISO/IEC 15420|
|EAN-8, EAN-13||Continuous||Many||Worldwide retail, GS1-approved – International Standard ISO/IEC 15420|
|Facing Identification Mark||Discrete||Two||USPS business reply mail|
|GS1-128 (formerly named UCC/EAN-128), incorrectly referenced as EAN 128 and UCC 128||Continuous||Many||Various, GS1-approved – just an application of the Code 128 (ISO/IEC 15417) using the ANS MH10.8.2 AI Datastructures. It is not a separate symbology.|
|GS1 DataBar, formerly Reduced Space Symbology (RSS)||Continuous||Many||Various, GS1-approved|
|Intelligent Mail barcode||Discrete||4 bar heights||United States Postal Service, replaces both POSTNET and PLANET symbols (formerly named OneCode)|
|ITF-14||Continuous||Two||Non-retail packaging levels, GS1-approved – is just an Interleaved 2/5 Code (ISO/IEC 16390) with a few additional specifications, according to the GS1 General Specifications|
|JAN||Continuous||Many||Used in Japan, similar and compatible with EAN-13 (ISO/IEC 15420)|
|Japan Post barcode||Discrete||4 bar heights||Japan Post|
|KarTrak ACI||Discrete||Coloured bars||Used in North America on railroad rolling equipment|
|MSI||Continuous||Two||Used for warehouse shelves and inventory|
|Pharmacode||Discrete||Two||Pharmaceutical packaging (no international standard available)|
|PLANET||Continuous||Tall/short||United States Postal Service (no international standard available)|
|Plessey||Continuous||Two||Catalogs, store shelves, inventory (no international standard available)|
|PostBar||Discrete||4 bar heights||Canadian Post office|
|POSTNET||Discrete||Tall/short||United States Postal Service (no international standard available)|
|RM4SCC / KIX||Discrete||4 bar heights||Royal Mail / PostNL|
|RM Mailmark C||Discrete||4 bar heights||Royal Mail|
|RM Mailmark L||Discrete||4 bar heights||Royal Mail|
|Universal Product Code (UPC-A and UPC-E)||Continuous||Many||Worldwide retail, GS1-approved – International Standard ISO/IEC 15420|
A matrix code, also termed a 2D barcode or simply a 2D code, is a two-dimensional way to represent information. It is similar to a linear (1-dimensional) barcode, but can represent more data per unit area.
|AR Code||A type of marker used for placing content inside augmented reality applications. Some AR Codes can contain QR codes inside, so that content AR content can be linked to. See also ARTag.|
|Aztec Code||Designed by Andrew Longacre at Welch Allyn (now Honeywell Scanning and Mobility). Public domain. – International Standard: ISO/IEC 24778|
|BEEtag||A 25 bit (5x5) code matrix of black and white pixels that is unique to each tag surrounded by a white pixel border and a black pixel border. The 25-bit matrix consists of a 15-bit identity code, and a 10-bit error check. It is designed to be a low-cost, image-based tracking system for the study of animal behavior and locomotion.|
|BeeTagg||A 2D barcode with honeycomb structures suitable for mobile tagging and was developed by the Swiss company connvision AG.|
|Bokode||A type of data tag which holds much more information than a barcode over the same area. They were developed by a team led by Ramesh Raskar at the MIT Media Lab. The bokode pattern is a tiled series of Data Matrix codes.|
|Code 1||Public domain. Code 1 is currently used in the health care industry for medicine labels and the recycling industry to encode container content for sorting.|
|Code 16K||The Code 16K (1988) is a multi-row bar code developed by Ted Williams at Laserlight Systems (USA) in 1992. In the USA and France, the code is used in the electronics industry to identify chips and printed circuit boards. Medical applications in the USA are well known.Williams also developed Code 128, and the structure of 16K is based on Code 128. Not coincidentally, 128 squared happened to equal 16,000 or 16K for short. Code 16K resolved an inherent problem with Code 49. Code 49's structure requires a large amount of memory for encoding and decoding tables and algorithms. 16K is a stacked symbology.|
|ColorCode||ColorZip developed colour barcodes that can be read by camera phones from TV screens; mainly used in Korea.|
|Color Construct Code||Color Construct Code is one of the few barcode symbologies designed to take advantage of multiple colors.|
|d-touch||readable when printed on deformable gloves and stretched and distorted|
|DataGlyphs||From Palo Alto Research Center (also termed Xerox PARC).|
|Data Matrix||From Microscan Systems, formerly RVSI Acuity CiMatrix/Siemens. Public domain. Increasingly used throughout the United States. Single segment Data Matrix is also termed Semacode. – International Standard: ISO/IEC 16022.|
|Datastrip Code||From Datastrip, Inc.|
|Digimarc Barcode||The Digimarc Barcode is a unique identifier, or code, based on imperceptible patterns that can be applied to marketing materials, including packaging, displays, ads in magazines, circulars, radio and television|
|digital paper||patterned paper used in conjunction with a digital pen to create handwritten digital documents. The printed dot pattern uniquely identifies the position coordinates on the paper.|
|DotCode||Standardized as AIM Dotcode Rev 3.0. Public domain. Used to track individual cigarette and pharmaceutical packages.|
|Dot Code A||Also known as Philips Dot Code. Patented in 1988.|
|DWCode||Introduced by GS1 US and GS1 Germany, the DWCode is a unique, imperceptible data carrier that is repeated across the entire graphics design of a package|
|EZcode||Designed for decoding by cameraphones; from ScanLife.|
|Han Xin Barcode||Barcode designed to encode Chinese characters introduced by Association for Automatic Identification and Mobility in 2011.|
|High Capacity Color Barcode||HCCB was developed by Microsoft; licensed by ISAN-IA.|
|HueCode||From Robot Design Associates. Uses greyscale or colour.|
|InterCode||From Iconlab, Inc. The standard 2D barcode in South Korea. All 3 South Korean mobile carriers put the scanner program of this code into their handsets to access mobile internet, as a default embedded program.|
|JAB-Code||Just Another Bar Code is a colored 2D barcode.|
|MaxiCode||Used by United Parcel Service. Now public domain.|
|mCode||Designed by NextCode Corporation, specifically to work with mobile phones and mobile services. It is implementing an independent error detection technique preventing false decoding, it uses a variable-size error correction polynomial, which depends on the exact size of the code.|
|MMCC||Designed to disseminate high capacity mobile phone content via existing colour print and electronic media, without the need for network connectivity|
|NexCode||NexCode is developed and patented by S5 Systems.|
|Nintendo e-Reader#Dot code||Developed by Olympus Corporation to store songs, images, and mini-games for Game Boy Advance on Pokémon trading cards.|
|PDF417||Originated by Symbol Technologies. Public domain. – International standard: ISO/IEC 15438|
|Qode||American proprietary and patented 2D barcode from NeoMedia Technologies, Inc.|
|QR code||Initially developed, patented and owned by Denso Wave for automotive components management; they have chosen not to exercise their patent rights. Can encode Latin and Japanese Kanji and Kana characters, music, images, URLs, emails. De facto standard for Japanese cell phones. Used with BlackBerry Messenger to pick up contacts rather than using a PIN code. The most frequently used type of code to scan with smartphones. Public Domain. – International Standard: ISO/IEC 18004|
|Screencode||Developed and patented  by Hewlett-Packard Labs. A time-varying 2D pattern using to encode data via brightness fluctuations in an image, for the purpose of high bandwidth data transfer from computer displays to smartphones via smartphone camera input. Inventors Timothy Kindberg and John Collomosse, publicly disclosed at ACM HotMobile 2008.|
|ShotCode||Circular barcodes for camera phones. Originally from High Energy Magic Ltd in name Spotcode. Before that most likely termed TRIPCode.|
|Snapcode, also called Boo-R code||used by Snapchat, Spectacles, etc.|
|Snowflake Code||A proprietary code developed by Electronic Automation Ltd. in 1981. It is possible to encode more than 100 numeric digits in a space of only 5mm x 5mm. User selectable error correction allows up to 40% of the code to be destroyed and still remain readable. The code is used in the pharmaceutical industry and has an advantage that it can be applied to products and materials in a wide variety of ways, including printed labels, ink-jet printing, laser-etching, indenting or hole punching.|
|SPARQCode||QR code encoding standard from MSKYNET, Inc.|
|Trillcode||Designed for mobile phone scanning. Developed by Lark Computer, a Romanian company.|
|VOICEYE||Developed and patented by VOICEYE, Inc. in South Korea, it aims to allow blind and visually impaired people to access printed information. It also claims to be the 2D barcode that has the world's largest storage capacity.|
In architecture, a building in Lingang New City by German architects Gerkan, Marg and Partners incorporates a barcode design, as does a shopping mall called Shtrikh-kod (Russian for barcode) in Narodnaya ulitsa ("People's Street") in the Nevskiy district of St. Petersburg, Russia.
In media, in 2011, the National Film Board of Canada and ARTE France launched a web documentary entitled Barcode.tv, which allows users to view films about everyday objects by scanning the product's barcode with their iPhone camera.
In the Terminator films shows Skynet burns barcodes onto the inside surface of the wrists of captive humans (in a similar location to the WW2 concentration camp tattoos) as a unique identifier.
In music, Dave Davies of The Kinks released a solo album in 1980, AFL1-3603, which featured a giant barcode on the front cover in place of the musician's head. The album's name was also the barcode number.
The April, 1978 issue of Mad Magazine featured a giant barcode on the cover, with the blurb "[Mad] Hopes this issue jams up every computer in the country...for forcing us to deface our covers with this yecchy UPC symbol from now on!"
Some brands integrate still valid readable barcodes on their consumer products.
The global public launch of the barcode was greeted with minor skepticism from conspiracy theorists, who considered barcodes to be an intrusive surveillance technology, and from some Christians, pioneered by a 1982 book The New Money System 666 by Mary Stewart Relfe, who thought the codes hid the number 666, representing the "Number of the Beast." Television host Phil Donahue described barcodes as a "corporate plot against consumers".
Article published in Wonders of Modern Technology, Spring 1993.
The Barcode Battler is a handheld gaming console released by Epoch in March 1991.The console at retail was supplied with a number of cards, each of which had a barcode. Upon starting the game, the player must swipe a barcode representing a player. The game uses barcodes to create a character for the player to use. Not all barcodes work as players; instead some represent enemies or powerups. Because of the ubiquity of barcodes in daily life, players were encouraged to go beyond the barcodes provided with the game itself and to experiment to find their own barcode monsters and powerups from everyday products like food and cleaning products.
Once the game itself is started, the characters "battle" against each other. The characters' statistics were applied to an algorithm containing a random number generator to determine the outcome of each round in the fight.Barcode of Life Data System
The Barcode of Life Data System (commonly known as BOLD or BOLDSystems) is a sequence database specifically devoted to DNA barcoding. It also provides an online platform for analyzing DNA sequences. As of 2017, BOLD included over 5.9 million DNA barcode sequences from over 542,000 species.Barcode printer
A barcode printer is a computer peripheral for printing barcode labels or tags that can be attached to, or printed directly on, physical objects. Barcode printers are commonly used to label cartons before shipment, or to label retail items with UPCs or EANs.The most common barcode printers employ one of two different printing technologies. Direct thermal printers use a printhead to generate heat that causes a chemical reaction in specially designed paper that turns the paper black. Thermal transfer printers also use heat, but instead of reacting the paper, the heat melts a waxy or resin substance on a ribbon that runs over the label or tag material. The heat transfers ink from the ribbon to the paper. Direct thermal printers are generally less expensive, but they produce labels that can become illegible if exposed to heat, direct sunlight, or chemical vapors.
Barcode printers are designed for different markets. Industrial barcode printers are used in large warehouses and manufacturing facilities. They have large paper capacities, operate faster and have a longer service life. For retail and office environments, desktop barcode printers are most common.Barcode reader
A bar code reader (or bar code scanner) is an electronic device that can read and output printed barcodes to a computer. Like a flatbed scanner, it consists of a light source, a lens and a light sensor translating for optical impulses into electrical signals.Additionally, nearly all barcode readers contain decoder circuitry analyzing the bar code's image data provided by the sensor and sending the barcode's content to the scanner's output port.Consortium for the Barcode of Life
The Consortium for the Barcode of Life (CBOL) is an international initiative dedicated to supporting the development of DNA barcoding as a global standard for species identification. CBOL's Secretariat Office is hosted by the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, in Washington, DC. Barcoding was proposed in 2003 by Prof. Paul Hebert of the University of Guelph in Ontario as a way of distinguishing and identifying species with a short standardized gene sequence. Hebert proposed the 648 bases of the Folmer region of the mitochondrial gene cytochrome-C oxidase-1 as the standard barcode region. Dr. Hebert is the Director of the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario, the Canadian Centre for DNA Barcoding, and the International Barcode of Life Project (iBOL), all headquartered at the University of Guelph. The Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) is also located at the University of Guelph.
CBOL was created in May 2004 with support of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, following two meetings in 2003, also funded by the Sloan Foundation, at the Banbury Center, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Since then, more than 200 organizations from more than 50 countries have joined CBOL and agreed to put their barcode data in a public database. CBOL promotes DNA barcoding through workshops, working groups, international conferences, outreach meetings to developing countries, planning meetings for barcoding projects, and production of outreach material to raise awareness of barcoding. CBOL's Database Working Group developed the data standard that GenBank, the European Bioinformatics Institute, and the DNA Data Bank of Japan have endorsed. CBOL's Plant Working Group proposed matK and rbcL as the standard barcode regions for land plants; CBOL approved this proposal in late 2005. The Fungal Working Group has identified ITS as the best barcode region for fungi, and CBOL's Protist Working Group is analyzing candidate regions for protistan groups. CBOL has also created Connect, a social network for the barcoding community. CBOL helped to plan and launch the global campaigns to barcode all species of fish and birds, and socioeconomically important groups like fruitflies.
One of CBOL's primary contributions to the success of barcoding has been its outreach efforts to government agencies (agriculture, environment, conservation, and others) and international organizations (CITES, Convention on Biological Diversity, Food and Agriculture Organization) that could benefit from barcoding.DNA barcoding
DNA barcoding is a taxonomic method that uses a designated portion of a specific gene or genes (proposed to be analogous to a barcode) to identify an organism to species. These "barcodes" are sometimes used in an effort to identify unknown species, parts of an organism, or simply to catalog as many extant taxa as possible.The most commonly used barcode region for animals and some protists is found in mtDNA, a segment 658 base pair portion of the cytochrome oxidase I (COI or COX1) gene. The Internal Transcribed Spacer (ITS) rRNA gene is often used to create barcodes for fungi. In plants, the cytochrome c oxidase I gene evolves too slowly to be of value for barcoding, so rbcL and others are used instead. Barcoding of protists is challenging, as documented by Pawlowski et al., 2012.Applications of DNA barcoding include: identifying plant leaves even when flowers or fruit are not available, identifying pollen collected on the bodies of pollinating animals, identifying insect larvae (which may have fewer diagnostic characters than adults and are frequently less well-known), identifying the diet of an animal based on its stomach contents or faeces and identifying products in commerce (for example, herbal supplements, wood, or skins and other animal parts).DX encoding
DX (Digital indeX) encoding is an ANSI and I3A standard, originally introduced by Kodak in March 1983, for marking 135 and APS photographic film and film cartridges. It consists of several parts, a latent image DX film edge barcode on the film below the sprocket holes, a code on the cartridge used by automatic cameras, and a barcode on the cartridge read by photo-finishing machines.Intelligent Mail barcode
The Intelligent Mail Barcode (IM barcode) is a 65-bar barcode for use on mail in the United States. The term "Intelligent Mail" refers to services offered by the United States Postal Service for domestic mail delivery. The IM barcode is intended to provide greater information and functionality than its predecessors POSTNET and PLANET. An Intelligent Mail barcode has also been referred to as a One Code Solution and a 4-State Customer Barcode, abbreviated 4CB, 4-CB or USPS4CB. The complete specification can be found in USPS Document USPS-B-3200. It effectively incorporates the routing ZIP code and tracking information included in previously used postal barcode standards.
The barcode is applied by the sender; the Postal Service required use of the Intelligent Mail barcode to qualify for automation prices beginning January 28, 2013. Use of the barcode provides increased overall efficiency, including improved deliverability, and new services.International Article Number
The International Article Number (also known as European Article Number or EAN) is a standard describing a barcode symbology and numbering system used in global trade to identify a specific retail product type, in a specific packaging configuration, from a specific manufacturer. The standard has been subsumed in the Global Trade Item Number standard from the GS1 organization; the same numbers can be referred to as GTINs and can be encoded in other barcode symbologies defined by GS1. EAN barcodes are used worldwide for lookup at retail point of sale, but can also be used as numbers for other purposes such as wholesale ordering or accounting.
The most commonly used EAN standard is the thirteen-digit EAN-13, a superset of the original 12-digit Universal Product Code (UPC-A) standard developed in 1970 by George J. Laurer. An EAN-13 number includes a 3-digit GS1 prefix (indicating country of registration or special type of product). A prefix with a first digit of "0" indicates a 12-digit UPC-A code follows. A prefix with first two digits of "45" or "49" indicates a Japanese Article Number (JAN) follows.
The less commonly used 8-digit EAN-8 barcode was introduced for use on small packages, where EAN-13 would be too large. 2-digit EAN-2 and 5-digit EAN-5 are supplemental barcodes, placed on the right-hand side of EAN-13 or UPC. These are generally used for periodicals like magazines or books, to indicate the current year's issue number; and weighed products like food, to indicate the manufacturer's suggested retail price.International Standard Book Number
The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.An ISBN is assigned to each edition and variation (except reprintings) of a book. For example, an e-book, a paperback and a hardcover edition of the same book would each have a different ISBN. The ISBN is 13 digits long if assigned on or after 1 January 2007, and 10 digits long if assigned before 2007. The method of assigning an ISBN is nation-based and varies from country to country, often depending on how large the publishing industry is within a country.
The initial ISBN identification format was devised in 1967, based upon the 9-digit Standard Book Numbering (SBN) created in 1966. The 10-digit ISBN format was developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and was published in 1970 as international standard ISO 2108 (the SBN code can be converted to a ten-digit ISBN by prefixing it with a zero digit "0").
Privately published books sometimes appear without an ISBN. The International ISBN agency sometimes assigns such books ISBNs on its own initiative.Another identifier, the International Standard Serial Number (ISSN), identifies periodical publications such as magazines and newspapers. The International Standard Music Number (ISMN) covers musical scores.LCD games from The Legend of Zelda series
LCD games are electronic games played on an LCD screen. Since the release of the Zelda Game & Watch game in August 1989, several LCD games based upon the theme of The Legend of Zelda have been licensed by Nintendo to be released for both Japanese and foreign markets. While Zelda (Game & Watch) was both developed and manufactured by Nintendo, later LCD games would only be licensed by Nintendo. The Legend of Zelda game watch (October 1989) is an LCD wristwatch game produced by Nelsonic as part of their Nelsonic Game Watch series, and Zelda no Densetsu: Kamigami no Triforce is an LCD fighting video game licensed by Nintendo and produced by Epoch Co. for the Barcode Battler II platform, and released only in Japan.MaxiCode
MaxiCode is a public domain, machine-readable symbol system originally created and used by United Parcel Service. Suitable for tracking and managing the shipment of packages, it resembles a barcode, but uses dots arranged in a hexagonal grid instead of bars. MaxiCode has been standardised under ISO/IEC 16023.A MaxiCode symbol (internally called "Bird's Eye", "Target", "dense code", or "UPS code") appears as a 1 inch square, with a bullseye in the middle, surrounded by a pattern of hexagonal dots. It can store about 93 characters of information, and up to 8 MaxiCode symbols can be chained together to convey more data. The centered symmetrical bullseye is useful in automatic symbol location regardless of orientation, and it allows MaxiCode symbols to be scanned even on a package traveling rapidly.
MaxiCode symbology was released by UPS in 1992.PDF417
PDF417 is a stacked linear barcode symbol format used in a variety of applications; primarily transport, identification cards, and inventory management. PDF stands for Portable Data File. The 417 signifies that each pattern in the code consists of bars and spaces, and that each pattern is 17 units long. The PDF417 symbology was invented by Dr. Ynjiun P. Wang at Symbol Technologies in 1991. (Wang 1993) It is ISO standard 15438.POSTNET
POSTNET (Postal Numeric Encoding Technique) is a barcode symbology used by the United States Postal Service to assist in directing mail. The ZIP Code or ZIP+4 code is encoded in half- and full-height bars. Most often, the delivery point is added, usually being the last two digits of the address or PO box number.
The barcode starts and ends with a full bar (often called a guard rail or frame bar and represented as the letter "S" in one version of the USPS TrueType Font) and has a check digit after the ZIP, ZIP+4, or delivery point. The encoding table is shown on the right.
Each individual digit is represented by a set of five bars, two of which are full bars (i.e. two-out-of-five code). The full bars represent "on" bits in a pseudo-binary code in which the places represent, from left to right: 7, 4, 2, 1, and 0. (Though in this scheme, zero is encoded as 11 in decimal, or in POSTNET "binary" as 11000.)Postal Alpha Numeric Encoding Technique
The Postal Alpha Numeric Encoding Technique (PLANET) barcode was used by the United States Postal Service to identify and track pieces of mail during delivery - the Post Office's "CONFIRM" services. It was fully superseded by Intelligent Mail Barcode by January 28, 2013.
A PLANET barcode appears either 12 or 14 digits long.
identifies mailpiece class and shape
identifies the Confirm Subscriber ID
includes up to 6 digits of additional information that the Confirm subscriber chose, such as a mailing number, mailing campaign ID or customer ID
ends with a check digitLike POSTNET, PLANET encodes the data in half- and full-height bars. Also like POSTNET, PLANET always starts and ends with a full bar (often called a guard rail), and each individual digit is represented by a set of five bars using a two-out-of-five code. However, in POSTNET, the two bars are full bars; in PLANET, the two-of-five are the short bars. As with POSTNET, the check digit is calculated by summing the other characters and calculating the single digit which, when added to the sum, makes the total divisible by 10.QR code
QR code (abbreviated from Quick Response Code) is the trademark for a type of matrix barcode (or two-dimensional barcode) first designed in 1994 for the automotive industry in Japan. A barcode is a machine-readable optical label that contains information about the item to which it is attached. In practice, QR codes often contain data for a locator, identifier, or tracker that points to a website or application. A QR code uses four standardized encoding modes (numeric, alphanumeric, byte/binary, and kanji) to store data efficiently; extensions may also be used.The Quick Response system became popular outside the automotive industry due to its fast readability and greater storage capacity compared to standard UPC barcodes. Applications include product tracking, item identification, time tracking, document management, and general marketing.A QR code consists of black squares arranged in a square grid on a white background, which can be read by an imaging device such as a camera, and processed using Reed–Solomon error correction until the image can be appropriately interpreted. The required data is then extracted from patterns that are present in both horizontal and vertical components of the image.Species
In biology, a species (/ˈspiːʃiːz/ (listen)) is the basic unit of classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined as the largest group of organisms in which any two individuals of the appropriate sexes or mating types can produce fertile offspring, typically by sexual reproduction. Other ways of defining species include their karyotype, DNA sequence, morphology, behaviour or ecological niche. In addition, paleontologists use the concept of the chronospecies since fossil reproduction cannot be examined. While these definitions may seem adequate, when looked at more closely they represent problematic species concepts. For example, the boundaries between closely related species become unclear with hybridisation, in a species complex of hundreds of similar microspecies, and in a ring species. Also, among organisms that reproduce only asexually, the concept of a reproductive species breaks down, and each clone is potentially a microspecies.
All species (except viruses) are given a two-part name, a "binomial". The first part of a binomial is the genus to which the species belongs. The second part is called the specific name or the specific epithet (in botanical nomenclature, also sometimes in zoological nomenclature). For example, Boa constrictor is one of four species of the genus Boa.
None of these is entirely satisfactory definitions, but scientists and conservationists need a species definition which allows them to work, regardless of the theoretical difficulties. If species were fixed and clearly distinct from one another, there would be no problem, but evolutionary processes cause species to change continually, and to grade into one another.
Species were seen from the time of Aristotle until the 18th century as fixed kinds that could be arranged in a hierarchy, the great chain of being. In the 19th century, biologists grasped that species could evolve given sufficient time. Charles Darwin's 1859 book The Origin of Species explained how species could arise by natural selection. That understanding was greatly extended in the 20th century through genetics and population ecology. Genetic variability arises from mutations and recombination, while organisms themselves are mobile, leading to geographical isolation and genetic drift with varying selection pressures. Genes can sometimes be exchanged between species by horizontal gene transfer; new species can arise rapidly through hybridisation and polyploidy; and species may become extinct for a variety of reasons. Viruses are a special case, driven by a balance of mutation and selection, and can be treated as quasispecies.Suzanne Weyn
Suzanne Weyn (born July 7, 1955, Long Island, New York) is an American author. She primarily writes children's and young adult science fiction and fantasy novels. and has written over fifty novels and short stories. She is best known for The Bar Code Tattoo, The Bar Code Rebellion and The Bar Code Prophecy. The Bar Code Tattoo has been translated into German, and in 2007 was nominated for the Jugendliteraturpreis for youth literature given by the German government. It was a 2007 Nevada Library nominee for Young Adult literature and American Library Association 2005 Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers.Universal Product Code
The Universal Product Code (UPC) is a barcode symbology that is widely used in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, in Europe and other countries for tracking trade items in stores.
UPC (technically refers to UPC-A) consists of 12 numeric digits that are uniquely assigned to each trade item. Along with the related EAN barcode, the UPC is the barcode mainly used for scanning of trade items at the point of sale, per GS1 specifications. UPC data structures are a component of GTINs and follow the global GS1 specification, which is based on international standards. But some retailers (clothing, furniture) do not use the GS1 system (rather other barcode symbologies or article number systems). On the other hand, some retailers use the EAN/UPC barcode symbology, but without using a GTIN (for products sold in their own stores only).
Paper data storage media
|Post office barcodes|
|2D barcodes (stacked)|
|2D barcodes (matrix)|
|Polar coordinate barcodes|
|Other data tags|