Artist inventor 2d Windows Paint Bar code image Design at the winning ticket
Windows Paint Bar Code
In 1990, I painted a Logo for my window cleaning business by painting in a french style window using Microsoft Windows Paint. The artwork represents 2-Dimensional Codes designed to hold information.
The Code is capable of handling several hundred times more information than traditional bar code
Initially developed, patented and owned by Denso Wave for automotive components management
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A UPC-A barcode symbol
A barcode is an optical machine-readable representation of data, which shows data about the object to which it attaches. Originally, barcodes represented data by varying the widths and spacings of parallel lines, and may be referred to as linear or 1 dimensional (1D). Later they evolved into rectangles, dots, hexagons and other geometric patterns in 2 dimensions (2D). Although 2D systems use a variety of symbols, they are generally referred to as barcodes as well. Barcodes originally were scanned by special optical scanners called barcode readers; later, scanners and interpretive software became available on devices including desktop printers and smartphones.
The first use of barcodes was to label railroad cars, but they were not commercially successful until they were used to automate supermarketcheckout 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.
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 until the first decade of the 21st century, over 40 years after the introduction of the commercial barcode, with the introduction of technologies such as radio frequency identification, or RFID.
In 1948 Bernard Silver, a graduate student at Drexel Institute of Technology in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA 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 this proved too easy to fade and was fairly 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-wattlight bulb shining through the paper onto an RCA935photomultiplier 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 bullseye 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.
In 1952 Philco purchased their patent, and then sold it to RCA the same year.
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 yellow 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 yellow.
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 October 10, 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, and 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. This, in turn, interested the grocery industry.
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 Computer Identics Corporation. Computer Identics started working with helium-neon lasers in place of light bulbs, scanning with a mirror to locate the barcode anywhere up to several feet in front of the scanner. This made the entire process much simpler and more reliable, as well as allowing it to deal with damaged labels by 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 Carlsbad, New Jersey to direct shipments to the proper loading bay.
In 1966 the National Association of Food Chains (NAFC) held a meeting where they discussed the idea of automated checkout systems. RCA had purchased 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 mid-1970, the NAFC established the U.S. Supermarket Ad Hoc Committee on a Uniform Grocery Product Code, which set guidelines for barcode development and created a symbol selection subcommittee to help standardize the approach. In cooperation with consulting firm McKinsey & Co., they developed a standardized 11-digit code to identify any product. 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 were 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 eighteen-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. During printing, presses sometimes smear ink in the direction the paper is running, rendering the code unreadable in most orientations. A linear code, like the one being developed by Woodland at IBM, however, was printed in the direction of the stripes, so extra ink simply makes the code "taller" while remaining readable, and on April 3, 1973 the IBM UPC was selected by NAFC as their standard. IBM had designed five versions of the 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, USA near the factory that was producing the equipment. On June 26, 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 IBM had assembled a team for an intensive planning session, day after day, 12 to 18 hours a day, to hash out how the whole system might operate and to schedule a rollout plan. By 1973 they were meeting with grocery manufacturers to introduce the symbol that would need to be printed on 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 was projecting that 75% would be needed in 1975. Even though that was achieved, there still were 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 timeframe and some predicted the demise of barcode scanning.[who?] 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."
Experience with barcode scanning in those stores revealed additional benefits. The detailed sales information acquired by the new systems allowed greater responsiveness to customer needs. 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 also was a 1–2% decrease in operating cost for the stores that enabled them to lower prices 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.
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 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".
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 are widely used in shop floor control applications software where employees can scan work orders and track the time spent on a job.
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 bar codes to uniquely identify a consumer. Retailers can offer 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.
Example of barcode on a patient identification wristband
When used on patient identification, barcodes permit clinical staff to instantly access patient data, including medical history, drug allergies, etc.
Document Management tools often allow for barcoded sheets to facilitate the separation and indexing of documents that have been imaged in batch scanning applications.
Tracking the organization of species in biology. The barcode assigned is based on the CO1 gene.
Since 2005, airlines use an IATA-standard 2D barcode on boarding passes (BCBP), and since 2008 2D barcodes sent to mobile phones enable electronic boarding passes.
Recently,[when?] researchers placed tiny barcodes on individual bees to track the insects' mating habits.
Barcoded entertainment event tickets allow the holder to enter sports arenas, cinemas, theatres, fairgrounds, transportation, etc. This can allow the proprietor to identify duplicate or fraudulent tickets more easily.
They can track the arrival and departure of vehicles from rental facilities.
Some 2D barcodes embed a hyperlink to a web page. A capable cellphone might be used to read the barcode and browse the linked website, which can help a shopper find the best price for an item in the vicinity.
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.
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 single digits/characters of the message as well as the start and stop markers into bars and space, the size of the quiet zone required to be before and after the barcode as well as the computation of a checksum.
Linear symbologies can be classified mainly by two properties:
Continuous vs. discrete: Characters in continuous symbologies usually abut, with one character ending with a space and the next beginning with a bar, or vice versa. Characters in discrete symbologies begin and end with bars; the intercharacter space is ignored, as long as it is not wide enough to look like the code ends.
Two-width vs. many-width: Bars and spaces in two-width symbologies are wide or narrow; the exact width of a wide bar has no significance as long as the symbology requirements for wide bars are adhered to (usually two to three times wider than a narrow bar). Bars and spaces in many-width symbologies are all multiples of a basic width called the module; most such codes use four widths of 1, 2, 3 and 4 modules.
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. 2-D 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. 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.
2-D 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. 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.
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 bar code 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:
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 minimum 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.
Barcode verifiers should comply with the ISO/IEC 15426-1 (linear) or ISO/IEC 15426-2 (2D).
This standard defines the measuring accuracy of a bar code verifier.
The current international barcode quality specification is ISO/IEC 15416 (linear) and ISO/IEC 15415 (2D). The European Standard EN 1635 has been withdrawn and replaced by ISO/IEC 15416. The original U.S. barcode quality specification was ANSI X3.182. (UPCs used in the US – ANSI/UCC5).
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).
These standards are also available from local/national standardization organizations, such as ANSI, BSI, DIN, NEN and others.
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:
Fast-selling items can be identified quickly and automatically reordered.
Slow-selling items can be identified, preventing inventory build-up.
The effects of merchandising changes can be monitored, allowing fast-moving, more profitable items to occupy the best space,
Historical data can be used to predict seasonal fluctuations very accurately.
Items may be repriced on the shelf to reflect both sale prices and price increases.
This technology also enables the profiling of individual consumers, typically through a voluntary registration of discount cards. While pitched as a benefit to the consumer, this practice is considered to be potentially dangerous by privacy advocates.
Besides sales and inventory tracking, barcodes are very useful in logistics.
When a manufacturer packs a box for shipment, a Unique Identifying Number (UID) can be assigned to the box.
A database can link the UID to relevant information about the box; such as order number, items packed, qty packed, destination, etc.
The information can be transmitted through a communication system such as Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) so the retailer has the information about a shipment before it arrives.
Shipments that are sent to a Distribution Center (DC) are tracked before forwarding. When the shipment reaches its final destination, the UID gets scanned, so the store knows the shipment's source, contents, and cost.
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.[unreliable source?] The exact error rate depends on the type of barcode.
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.
From Microscan Systems, formerly RVSI Acuity CiMatrix/Siemens. Public domain. Increasingly used throughout the United States. Single segment Data Matrix is also termed Semacode – Standard: ISO/IEC 16022.
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.
Initially developed, patented and owned by Toyota subsidiary Denso Wave for car parts management; now public domain. Can encode Japanese Kanji and Kana characters, music, images, URLs, emails. De facto standard for Japanese cell phones. Also used with BlackBerry Messenger to pickup contacts rather than using a PIN code. These codes are also used frequently for Android phones. – International Standard : ISO/IEC 18004
GTIN-12 number encoded in UPC-A barcode symbol. First and last digit are always placed outside the symbol to indicate Quiet Zones that are necessary for barcode scanners to work properly
EAN-13 (GTIN-13) number encoded in EAN-13 barcode symbol. First digit is always placed outside the symbol, additionally right quiet zone indicator (>) is used to indicate Quiet Zones that are necessary for barcode scanners to work properly
"Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia" in several languages encoded in DataGlyphs
Two different 2D barcodes used in film: Dolby Digital between the sprocket holes with the "Double-D" logo in the middle, and Sony Dynamic Digital Sound in the blue area to the left of the sprocket holes
The QR Code for the Wikipedia URL. "Quick Response", the most popular 2D barcode in Japan, is promoted by Google. It is open in that the specification is disclosed and the patent is not exercised.
MaxiCode example. This encodes the string "Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia"