Barcode Scanner Technology Explained – 2D Barcode Imagers

The last type of mainstream barcode scanner we’re looking at today are what’s known as “2D Barcode Images”

2D Barcode Scanners are commonly known as images because of the technology they use to read barcodes.  a 2D barcode Imager is basically a camera which uses a 2D array of CMOS sensors.  The array is then used to build up the barcode which is deciphered using some kind of image processing technique.  These type of barcode scanners are essentially just cameras with a bunch of lights on them to help with contrast and reflection.  However this statement is a little bit belittling as the technology used to actually get a 2D imager to scan efficiently is remarkably complex and clever.  You just need to use your smartphone to scan a barcode to see the difference.

You can see a 2D barcode scanner in action right here, and as you can see they are really quite good these days!

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Pro’s of a 2D Barcode Imager

  • Will scan all Barcode – 2D Images will read 1D and 2D barcodes, whereas a 1D CCD or laser scanner will never be able to read a 2D barcode.
  • LCD Readable – 2D Images will read from an LCD so can be used for pure ticket solutions, where reading off a smartphone screen is required.
  • Robust – No moving again so they are inherently robust.
  • Configurable – 2D scanners tend to be far more configurable so you can tailor your scanner more exactly to your environment.  You can tweak the lighting, where the scanner looks for the barcode, fix ranges and perspective of the scanner amongst many other things.

Con’s of a 2D Barcode Imager

  • Harder to Aim – No scan line or pattern means that they can be harder to aim, they often have a special aimer but this can affect the reading of the barcode.
  • Less efficient – When scanning 1D barcodes especially, a 2D reader up to now, has not been as efficient at or aggressive as CCD or laser scanning technologies.  This is being challenged now though with the newest 2D images hitting the market almost being on a par now.
  • Expensive – The parts, the tech and R&D required are more costly and therefore so is your barcode scanner!
  • Range– Whilst range and flexibility are more tweakable, the general flexibility when you;re scanning is less than a good CD or laser scanner.

2D barcodes however are so much better as an overall barcode technology so 2D barcode Readers are here to stay.  They’re also getting cheaper, better, faster and some manufacturers are even dropping their Laser or CCD lines in some products now due to this.  Motorola’s MC65 rugged PDA is one such example.

Tomorrow we’ll take a look at some specialist area’s that need specialist barcode scanners.

The Rugged and Mobile blog.

About The Author

Dave's one of the founders of Raptor, his rants are memorable, his thoughts are stimulating and his heart is set on helping, entertaining and making things like mobile, Android, ruggedness, 3D printing and IOT simple.

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