What is a Barcode Scanner?

A barcode scanner is also known as a point of sale scanner, a barcode reader, or a POS reader. This is a fixed or a handheld instrument which is used to read the details of the product through the bar code of that item. The barcode scanner includes the decoder that may be connected inside the instrument or it may be outside of it plus a cable that is employed to join the computer with the scanner. A barcode reader has a function to translate or capture the given barcode into the numbers or letters, after collecting which the data is been transferred to the computer using the software that can translate the data. The barcode reader must be joined to the computer through a serial port or a keyboard or a wedge that acts as an interface between the two. A barcode scanner functions by throwing across a ray of light which is then reflected back. Out of which the black bars reflect lesser light than the white spaces. After which the barcode scanner converts the light energy into the electrical energy, then it is transformed into the data through the decoder and then it gets transferred to the computer.

There are many types of barcode scanners some of which are the pen style, or the slot readers, or the charge couple instrument, the image scanners or the laser scanners.

1) A pen style barcode scanner is the simplest form of barcode reader. This includes no mobile parts and is best known for its low cost and its durability. It may be a bit difficult to use this kind of barcode reader as it has to stay in direct contact with the bar code of the product, and it also should be held at a particular angle and moved over a certain speed across the barcode.

2) A slot style barcode scanner stays fixed at one position and the product has to be moved across the scanner to scan the details through the slot. These are generally used to scan the identification cards.

3) A CCD barcode reader can scan the barcode easily, and it is better than that of the pen style barcode scanners and it is mostly used in the retail stores. Usually this kind of scanner consists of a gun type interface and should be kept at least 1 inch far for the barcode. Every time the barcode gets scanned the chances of errors are reduced by repeating the process a few times. The biggest problem with these kinds of scanners is that it can’t read the code which is farther than that of its input face.

4) The image reader is also known as the camera scanner, it has a tiny video camera which is used to capture the image of the products’ barcode. After which is uses the digital image processing technique to decode the barcode.

5) A laser barcode reader can either be fixed or be handheld by a person. This does not have to be necessarily near the barcode to close to the bar to perform its task. This has a system of lenses and mirrors to make the scanner to read the barcode irrespective of the orientation of the code.


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