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Warehouse Management Blog

Our team of Fulfilment Consultants share warehouse management best practice and advice.

Can I take a photo with barcode scanner?

WRITTEN BY Oliver Rhodes /

15 October 2010

Can I take a photo with barcode scanner?

The simple answer is yes - if the barcode scanner that you have has what is known as a 2D (two dimensional) imager as its scan engine. Barcode scanners come with two different types of scan engines.

The first type comes with a 1D (One Dimensional) laser scanner. This type of scanner can only scan 1D barcodes, these are the traditional barcodes that represent data in the width of the lines and the spacing between them - they are also referred to as linear barcodes (see example below).

1D barcode

The 1D scanner is capable of reading these barcodes at different angles and even works when the barcode is upside down. It is faster to scan than a 2D imager as it takes less time to process. The laser can move up and down which helps increase the read speed – because of this it is best suited to high intensity scanning at dock doors or for shop floor data capture.

The second type of scan engine is the 2D imager. These read 2D barcodes or matrix codes. They are a two-dimensional way of representing data and they have more data representation capability than 1D barcodes (see example to right). The 2D imager can take a photo with barcode scanner; the technology is similar to what you will find in a digital camera. The best one we have found on the market is the Motorola DS6808. There are numerous industry applications where this capability has proven valuable.

One common use for a 2D imager’s picture capability is to take photos of damages both in the warehouse and out in the field. It is also used by delivery drivers to show the state of goods delivered. And finally, those traffic wardens who take a photo of your car when it is 'mis-parked'...and this is done with a barcode scanner in many cases!

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