Thursday, October 8, 2009

Barcode's birthday

Inspired by Google, this is my version to celebrate the 57th anniversary of the first barcode patent.

On October 7, 1952, US Patent 2,612,994 was issued to Norman Woodland and Bernard Silver for "Classifying Apparatus and Method," in which they described both the linear and bullseye printing patterns, as well as the mechanical and electronic systems needed to read the code. After decades of developments at IBM (a team led by Woodland), the UPC barcode - laser scanner partnership made its first commercial appearance on June 26, 1974 at Marsh's Supermarket in Troy, Ohio, when a 10-pack Wrigley's Juicy Fruit gum was scanned at 8:01 am.

According to a report by Motorola, more than 10 billion barcodes are scanned everyday now in 25 industries and in places including airports, hospitals, and shipping centers. It costs about $0.005 to implement a barcode. But the system ultimately resulted in significant economic and productivity gains for shoppers, retailers and manufacturers, with estimated cost savings of $17 billion in the grocery sector alone (according to GS1 US).

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