Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Need a 2D code reader?

I don’t spend a lot of time on 2D codes, considering it a pretty mature technology, but I have just spent half an hour reading an interesting paper from Intermec.

I don’t think Intermec are well known in the machine vision world, but, so I have learned, they are a significant player in the world of code reading. And though I don’t have the numbers, I suspect that reading 2D codes is the biggest single market for vision equipment.

Turning to what I found so interesting; Intermec have a whole bunch of interesting papers available for download from their website, and one of these scored a couple of hits on my consciousness. Specifically:

  • A 1D barcode is just a number. For it to be of any value it has to be linked to some kind of database. In contrast, a 2D code can carry actual data. So a 2D code can retain the date of manufacture on the product, while a 1D code requires access to a database.
  • A very interesting potential application is in the area of hospital patient ID. You know how when you check it they fit you out with a wrist strap containing your name, date of birth and so on for all the world to read? Well replace that with a 2D code and confidentiality is assured. Only someone armed with a scanner can find out about you. It strikes me that this also increases patient safety as there must be less risk of misreading the patient’s information.
I know these might not be new to you, but they impress me. But to make your visit to my blog worthwhile, let me finish with a product reference. Intermec are bragging about a new imager with amazing autofocus capabilities. In fact they claim the EX25 can read codes from “up close to 15 meters away.”

Now that is a bold claim, and it has me scratching my head over the actual autofocus mechanism. I didn’t think liquid lenses had that kind of range, so I’m guessing it’s a motorized mechanical zoom.

Now when can we see this in a smart camera?

No comments: