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AIDC Technology

Bar Code Technology

Since its invention in early 1950s, bar code technology has accelerated the flow of products and information within a business and between businesses. As a result of improvements in data accuracy that accompanies the adoption of bar code technology over conventional keyboard data entry, bar code systems have become critical elements in conducting business in today’s national and global economies. Bar code technology comprises of the following components:

  • Symbologies that encode data that can be optically read by bar code readers;
  • Printing technologies that produce machine-readable symbols
  • Scanners and decoders that capture visual images of the symbologies and convert them to computer-compatible digital data, and the verifiers that validate symbol quality.

There are many different bar code symbologies, or languages. Each symbology has its own rules for character (e.g. letter, number, punctuation) encoding, printing and decoding requirements, error checking, and other features.

The various bar code symbologies differ both in the way they represent data and in the type of data they can encode: some only encode numbers; others encode numbers, letters, and a few punctuation characters; still others offer encoding of the 128-character, and even 256-character, ASCII sets. The newest symbologies include options to encode multiple languages within the same symbol; allow user-defined encoding of special or additional data; and can even allow (through deliberate redundancies) reconstruction of data if the symbol is damaged.

While there were over 200 bar code symbologies, only a handful of these are in current use and fewer still are widely used.

Card Technologies

This refers to use of some form of electronically encoded material that can be used for storing and accessing information relating to a specific asset. Typically we think of our credit card or bank card but there are other sizes and materials used for different AIDC applications. The card can be made of plastic (polyester, PVC, or some other material) or paper, or even some amalgamation of materials. The essential point is that the card includes some form of AIDC (automatic identification and data capture) technology.

There are currently three main technologies within card technologies. These are

  • Magnetic stripe
  • Smart cards, and
  • Optical cards.

Often the card will have printing on it which may involve technologies such as Dye Diffusion Thermal Transfer (D2T2) direct to card printing.

With the advent of newer and more secure technologies, some technology forecasters predicted the demise of magnetic stripe card. However, given the low cost and immense investment in the current infrastructure, magnetic stripe is not expected to disappear any time soon. Today, card-based AIDC technologies are being used in cellular phones, transit ticket machines, ATMs, amusement machines, vending machines, and kiosks.

Acknowledgement: Some of the information on AIDC pages is based on the information in AIMGlobal's website. We would like to thank AIMGlobal for this.

More Information on AIDC

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