A barcode scanner reads barcodes by using a combination of light sensors and a decoder. The process involves the following steps:
- Scanning: The scanner emits a beam of light (usually a laser) onto the barcode. The light is reflected back from the barcode into a light sensor in the scanner.
- Sensing: The light sensor detects the pattern of light and dark bars in the barcode. The light areas reflect more light, while the dark areas absorb more light. This creates a unique pattern based on the encoded information.
- Conversion: The light and dark pattern is converted into an electrical signal by the scanner. The electrical signal represents the varying light intensities of the barcode.
- Decoding: The electrical signal is sent to a decoder, which analyzes the intensity changes and translates them into the corresponding characters or numbers. The decoder matches the pattern of bars to the barcode's specific symbology (such as UPC, EAN, or Code 39) to determine the encoded data.
- Output: The decoded information is then sent to the connected computer or system, often displaying it on a screen or storing it in a database.
Overall, the barcode scanner relies on capturing and analyzing the reflected light from the barcode to extract the encoded information, making it a quick and efficient way to read barcodes in various applications.