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computer coding system that uses a printed pattern of lines and bars to identify such things as products, mail and packages, and customer accounts; the term also is used for similar coding systems that do not use bar-based patterns. Barcodes are read by optically scanning the printed pattern and using a computer program to decode the pattern. In a linear barcode system, the code itself contains no information about the item to which it is assigned but represents a string of identifying numbers or letters. When the code is read by an optical scanner linked to a computerized or networked device, the device can provide and record information about the item, such as its price or the quantity sold, from and to databases.

Americans Bernard Silver and Norman Woodland the first barcode system in the 1940s. The first standardized barcode adopted for general use was the linear Universal Product Code (UPC), chosen by North American supermarkets in 1973; it entered commerical use in 1974, but barcode scanners were not widely deployed until the 1980s. The original UPC used a set of two dark (usually black) and two light (usually white) bars of specified thicknesses to represent 12 numbers, but beginning in 2005 the Uniform Code Council, now known as GS1 US, adopted the similar European Article Numbering Code (EAN), which encodes 13 numbers and had become the international standard. The standards for the international product barcode system are managed by GS1, formerly known as EAN International, which is based in Brussels. The dark bars may be from one to three units wide and the light bars from one to four units. For registration purposes two one-unit dark bars are placed at each end and in the middle. Each item is assigned a unique numeric code, which is printed as a barcode on the item's packaging.

So-called two-dimensional (2D) barcodes permit the encoding of information about an item in addition to an identifying code. In a 2D barcode, two axes, or directions, are used for recording and reading the codes and the bar size is reduced, increasing the space available for data in the way that a column of words improves on a column of letters. Some 2D codes do not use bars, such as the United Parcel Service's hexagon-based Maxicode. Manufacturers and others now use 2D Quick Response (QR) codes on products and other objects to provide information associated with those items directly to individuals who can read the barcodes using smartphones.

An emerging technology, radio-frequency identificationradio-frequency identification
(RFID), a technology that uses radio waves to transmit data and uniquely identify an animal, person, or thing. An RFID system typically consists of a tag and a reader.
..... Click the link for more information.
 (RFID), could supplant the barcode in most applications. The newer radio-based devices overcome many of the limitations inherent in the barcode's optical technology.


The printed code used for recognition by a barcode scanner (barcode reader). The "bar" in barcode comes from the ubiquitous, one-dimensional (1D) UPC barcode found on countless product packages. Several two-dimensional (2D) barcodes are also in wide use, but they are not as bar-like as the UPC. The 2D codes are scanned horizontally and vertically and hold considerably more data. All the 2D examples below contain the same data: the URL for See barcode scanner, mobile tagging, point of sale and AIM. Contrast with RFID.

1D Barcode
One-dimensional (1D) UPC barcodes are used on millions of consumer items as well as shipping containers. For details, see UPC.

2D QR Code
Widely used to mark products as well as identify establishments, QR codes are recognizable by their four squares with dots in the middle. For details, see QR code.

2D PDF417
Symbol Technologies' PDF417 is a general-purpose barcode that is recognizable by patterns of vertical lines on each side. For details, see PDF417.

2D DataMatrix
The DataMatrix code is used to mark small parts and holds up to 2,355 alphanumeric and 3,116 numeric characters. It is recognizable by its border with two solid lines and two alternating lines.

2D MaxiCode
The MaxiCode uses hexagonal symbols and is recognizable by its center bull's eye. Used for high-speed sorting, it holds up to 93 alphanumeric and 138 numeric characters. For more data, MaxiCodes can be chained together. (Image courtesy of AIM, Warrendale, PA,

2D BeeTagg
Designed for mobile tagging, this system from Switzerland accepts company logos. Recognizable by its honeycomb-like cells, BeeTaggs are also used for exchanging business card data. For more information, visit See mobile tagging.

2D Microsoft Tag
Also developed for mobile tagging, Microsoft's system uses color. Another form of the tag allows a company logo to occupy the background. For details, see Microsoft Tag.
References in periodicals archive ?
Datastrip is a world leader in providing rugged, ergonomic, biometric verification terminals that offer the flexibility and customization needed for specialized applications and interoperability into existing Identity Management systems for ease of deployment into mainstream verticals such as law enforcement, government, military and commercial markets.
Datastrip is a world leader in field-proven mobile identity verification.
All information can be displayed on the Datastrip unit's built-in color touch screen.
The DSVII-SC is available directly from Datastrip or through the company's network of resellers and system integrators, listed at http://www.
This approval is a milestone for HSPD-12 deployments, not only because the DSVII is the first single fingerprint/smart card reader to meet FIPS 201 qualifications but also because it offers mobile capabilities that make it possible to check identities even where there are no fixed security checkpoints," said Roger Morrison, Datastrip Director of Federal Sales.
0 operating system for easy development of custom applications, utilizes a SH4 RISC processor that supports fast biometric matching as well as more complex applications, and is available directly from Datastrip or through the company's network of resellers and system integrators.
Captured images can be stored and processed on the Datastrip terminal or wirelessly transmitted to backend servers for immediate processing for applications such as facial recognition.
This new camera option adds important versatility to our DSVII product family while also eliminating the need for law enforcement or security personnel in mobile environments to carry multiple devices," said Brian Feick of Datastrip.
Bundling SMI's software with our DSVII-SC reader solves that problem for basic implementations by slashing software costs by 70 to 80%," said Datastrip CEO Steve Blackmore.
SMI's mobile identity verification application enables data on smart cards, prox cards, HID iCLASS cards, bar codes or other credentials decoded by the Datastrip DSVII-SC to be compared against an organization's access control system or other core database to confirm the identity of the cardholder.
Datastrip announced today that it has received the 2006 Frost & Sullivan Product Innovation of the Year Award in the smart cards market for its DSVII handheld identity verification terminals, a family of portable smart card/biometric readers.
WASHINGTON -- Saflink(R) Corporation (Nasdaq:SFLK), a leading provider of solutions that verify identity, secure access and increase productivity, and Datastrip, a leading provider of biometric verification devices and 2D bar code software today announced the continued deployment of a mobile biometric security system for the State of Florida's Seaport Gate Control Project.