A barcode is an optical machine-readable representation of data relating to the object to which it is attached. Originally barcodes systematically represented data by varying the widths and spacings of parallel lines, and may be referred to as linear or one-dimensional (1D). It subsequently evolved into rectangles, dots, hexagons and other geometric patterns in two 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. However in current times scanners and interpretive software became available on devices including desktop printers and smartphones also. Main components of barcode technology are:
Symbologies – Encoding data that can be optically read by barcode readers.
Barcode printers – Printers that produce machine-readable symbols.
Scanners and decoders – Devices that capture visual images of the symbologies and convert them to computer-compatible digital data, and the verifiers that validate symbol quality.
Barcodes have become a ubiquitous element of modern civilization, as evidenced by their enthusiastic adoption by departmental stores, healthcare units, manufacturing units and logistic companies around the world.