Random Facts about Bar Codes
Bar codes are incredible little things, surrounded by mystery and intrigue. How much do you know about them? They have been around for a very long time and have made our lives so much easier. There are over 10 000 billion unique bar codes in the world today. Here are some interesting, random facts regarding them that you may not know that we at www.barcodessouthafrica.co.za found intriguing.
The first in history was placed on a 10 pack of Wrigley’s juicy fruit chewing gum and was sold in a Marsh Supermarket in Troy, Ohio in 1874. This was a UPC code that was developed by Bob Silver and Joe Woodland. The UPC format was the very first format to be created, it is twelve digits long and is still often used in America as the primary retail format. To commemorate this moment, this specific pack of gum can be viewed at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, America.
Secondly, Quick Response codes, which are 2 dimensional can be used in hundreds of different ways such as on gravestones. These can store large amounts information such as a URL. By scanning these with a Smartphone, friends and family can be linked to a website commemorating the deceased or even a social media page where they can share precious memories and messages. These unique bar codes are square in shape and look very different to the normal retail linear format that we are used to seeing on items, they are made up of lots of dots and squares, as per the image below. Businesses have also been known to include these in their business cards allowing potential customers to scan the image to be directed to their website, where all the information on their business and services and offerings can be perused.
Not many people know that very small, minuscule unique bar codes can actually be used to track bees. This is something that we found to be extremely interesting as it helps scientists to monitor the individual behaviour of bees to determine what is normal behaviour and what is abnormal behaviour. The system of tracking bees is called using a BEEtag. It enables scientists to observe the interactions of thousands of bees, on a twenty four hour basis. They physically attach them to the backs of the bees. This has played a huge role in the conservation of bees and the truth is that without bees, the world would not survive. Before this concept started scientists used to stand and physically watch over beehives to try and determine exactly why certain bees perform certain tasks. Such as when one worker bee is not performing to the best of its ability another worker bee will step in and take over its tasks, this is amazing.
Did you know that one of the first ways that they were used was actually on railroad cars? They were used to track and monitor the railroad cars and make sure that they reached their destinations safely and efficiently. This system was called Kartrak and the way it worked was that it made use of red and blue reflective stripes as well as a number that were attached to the railroad cars. The only downside of the the Kartrak system was that when the bar codes became dirty, they could not be scanned accurately, which limited their usefulness. This was before they were able to be printed onto stronger materials that are able to withstand the elements. Such as aluminium tags which are long lasting and not damaged by chemicals and weather.
Another very interesting use involves homeless people. Homeless people in Oxford, England have begun using a QR system to enable people to make online payments or donations. This takes out the problem of handing over cash as not many people carry cash on them in these days and increases the safety of all the people involved. This system will also enable people to feel more comfortable to support homeless people in the future. These donations are monitored and controlled by the social welfare system in their specific country. They wear them around their neck on lanyards. By these donations being electronic and monitored the recipients are monitored as to where they can spend the donations, they are not able to draw the money out as physical cash. Which ceases the chance of them using the money for illegal substances or alcohol.
Looking at some myths, some people believe that they are the mark of the devil. This all goes back to a verse in the Bible (Revelations 13:16) that describes the Anti-Christ as having the mark of the beast on his skin, heralding the end of the world. This mark of the best is the number 666. These conspiracy theorists claim that this number 666 is buried within the bar codes themselves, thereby making them the work of the devil himself. This is not actually true, but it does make for interesting story telling.
Lastly, they are being used in recycling. More and more people are beginning to recycle their goods in order to do their part in saving the planet. One concept is the bar codes are placed on recycling bins and when the recycling is collected it is scanned and the value of the goods that they have recycled will be given to them in vouchers that they can use for groceries. This is a great incentive that works in America for getting more households to recycle. The second way is to place them on items that are recyclable and this allows people to scan the bar codes to see how they can recycle the item, as sometimes we can be unsure of which items are able to be recycled and how.
We hope you found this article interesting and fun to read and if you would like to find out more about how unique bar codes can benefit your business, please feel free to contact company for a free quote. We will be able to answer all of your questions and assist you in initiating a barcoding system within your business.
Founder Dinis Guarda
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