Bar­code

Glossary term descrip­tion
  • Also known as
  • Bar code

A bar­code (also bar code) is a visual, machine-read­able rep­re­sen­ta­tion of data. The data usu­ally describes some­thing about the object that car­ries the bar­code.

Tra­di­tional one-dimen­sional bar­codes sys­tem­at­i­cally rep­re­sent data by vary­ing the widths and spac­ings of par­al­lel lines. Later, two-dimen­sional vari­ants as the QR Code were devel­oped. They are using rec­tan­gles, dots, hexa­gons and other geo­met­ric pat­terns.

The use of bar­code tech­nol­ogy in an indus­trial set­ting can be traced back as far as the 1960s, with some early imple­men­ta­tions to iden­tify rail­road cars. They were scanned by spe­cial opti­cal scan­ners called bar­code read­ers. Later appli­ca­tion soft­ware became avail­able for devices that could read images, such as smart­phones with cam­eras.

Bar­codes were com­monly used in pro­duc­tion processes, stock man­age­ments, or on gro­cery store shelves to auto­mate the process of iden­ti­fy­ing items. More recent uses for smart phones include link­ing to web con­tent, or even online pay­ments.