Demystifying the Mystery: Understanding How Barcodes Work

A scanner detecting the barcode on the box

The world is full of things that make you wonder. In every turn, you will encounter something that will make you inquisitive. And that’s all right because you get to learn a lot. One of the places where questions may pop into your head is the supermarket.

Waiting in the queue to the cashier, you will hear that familiar “beep” sound—the sound of the barcode being scanned. And you might have already asked this question: how does that thing work? Today, this mystery will be demystified in this article. Read on to learn more:

Understanding the lines

You might have noticed that the barcode is a series of parallel lines, with varying thickness. You will never make out something out of it, even if you look at it from a distance. Simply put, these lines are representations of the numbers and other details.

The bar code has different parts. The first part states the origin of the product (e.g. country). The next part will be about the maker of the product, and the last part talks about the product. Some bar codes easily fade, so if you want to have a label that can last long, you ought to invest in a quality bar code printer.

Knowing the reader

A scanner reads the bar code. When the bar code is scanned, the scanner simply shines laser light into the barcode. This light will be then reflected back into the scanner. Once the information is received, the scanner will then convert what it received into readable and understandable information.

There’s more to bar code reading than what is stated above, but at least you know the basics. What you have just read may even spark a lot of questions, but that is all right. That means you get to open new doors that will lead you to more learning.