What is a Barcode

different 1d and 2d barcodes

A barcode is a machine-readable pattern applied to products, packages, or parts. Barcodes contain data used for informational and marketing purposes as well as for tracking products throughout their lifecycle. Barcodes are read by using a special reader or scanner with lights and lenses that decodes the data in the codes. The information is then transferred to a database where it can be logged and tracked.

Although barcode technology was originally patented in 1952, it wasn’t until 1974 that the first product—a package of Wrigley’s gum—was scanned at a Marsh® supermarket in Ohio. Today, barcodes come in dozens of different formats, from a row of simple lines called a 1D (one-dimensional) barcode to dots and squares that form a 2D (two-dimensional) code; QR (Quick Response) and Data Matrix codes are among the most popular 2D codes. The more advanced 2D code allows users to store and retrieve significantly more data than they could with a 1D code. This is because 1D codes only contain data in the horizontal direction whereas 2D codes contain information both vertically and horizontally.

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