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Long Range Barcode Scanning

What is long range barcode scanning?
by Barry Barcode

In the Star Trek, The Original Series1, episode entitled ‘The Enterprise Incident,’ a long range sensor was able to scan all the way out to one whole parsec, giving the starfleet instant information from light years away. To give you some context, a parsec is about 3.26 light years. Can you imagine a barcode scanner which could reach that far into space? Well, in 1968 Star Trek amazed the world with this mind blowing idea, 20 years before the first barcode scanner was even invented! Now I know what you’re thinking…. You’re thinking I’m a total nerd, and you may very well be right, but did you also know long range scanners are a reality in today’s barcode scanning world?

Long range barcode scanners, are hand held scanners that are used for scanning up to 40-50 feet, and if you read my buddy Timmy’s article about retroreflective labels, you’ll get the idea as to how they work together with special retroreflective labels. The short story is, it’s science, but for the whole story check out Timmy’s blog about retroflective labels, as they go hand in hand with long range scanners.

How they work is both entirely simple and incredibly complicated to explain. Consider a commercial laser pointer you might use to help as a visual aid for a presentation, or for playing with your cat. The pointer shines a very bright light at a short distance, but have you ever tried to point the laser at something far away, like a tree, or a building across the street, only to find the light is dim or even gone? In this case, the range of your laser isn’t long enough to reach the house across the street, and you would need a stronger, long range laser to cast out that far, and it is the same with long range barcode scanners.

Long range scanners have the laser strength to meet those larger demands of time and space, but maybe not nearly as far as a parsec. Because of the way they are designed, the laser uses lightspeed to scan and it brings back all of the data in what seems like an instant. They get a lot of attention because many businesses have a lot of floor space, or have a lot of inventory stacked high up on shelves. With a long range barcode scanner it’s easy to scan and go without having to get up on a ladder or walk the 50 feet to each label, which increases productivity!

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It is also true that I am quite smitten by the long range scanner possibilities. If I plan out my office just right, I may never have to leave my seat again without compromising my scanning ability the least! I joke, but if you’re interested in long range scanners, you can find them for sale at Midcomdata, you can find a protection plan to keep your scanner scanning away for years to come, and as always, when the darn things break, call MIDCOM at (800) 643-2664 or chat us up on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn!

Fontana, D. C. “Star Trek The Original Series.” The Enterprise Incident. Dir. John M. Lucas. 27 Sept. 1968. Television.

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