Did the scan go through? Exploring barcode scanner feedback
The adaptability of barcode scanners contributes greatly to their enduring appeal across industries. Portable, durable, and easy to use, they can be effectively incorporated into systems and workflows in a wide range of environments.
Options for feedback mechanisms are an important aspect of the technology’s broad usability. Nurses in a patient’s hospital room at night require a different type of notification indicating a successful barcode scan than workers on a busy manufacturing floor, for example. What’s more, the same model of barcode scanner that cruises along with highway patrol to scan and parse ID cards might also be at a library or the florist, meaning barcode scanners are more capable and sophisticated than you might think.
Below are the three types of feedback or notifications that barcode scanners can provide.
Auditory device feedback is all around us in our daily lives. Ovens beep when they reach desired temperatures, smoke alarms screech out warnings, and smartphones let us know when we receive texts, emails, or calls.
For environments requiring silent notifications, barcode scanners can provide indicators that are solely visual. Frequently useful in healthcare scenarios, scanners delivering visual feedback can also be employed in any environment where users cannot hear auditory indicators.
A fairly recent patent application for visual feedback allows users to rapidly scan multiple barcodes and instantly determine which barcodes, if any, haven’t been scanned. A user scanning eight barcodes on a package, for example, will view visual indicators on a device display, seeing positive results for all successfully scanned barcodes and an "X" for any codes remaining unscanned. Instant visual feedback allows the user to zero in on the missed barcode without having to rescan each barcode individually.
This patent is just the tip of the iceberg.
Code Corporation, for instance, holds a patent for a barcode-reading system that "automatically adjusts certain outputs based on ambient characteristics." Essentially, clever programming can harness the processing and electrical circuitry within select Code devices and works with sensors to "gauge" ambient light or noise. Thus, Code’s engineering groups have set the stage for future devices that can adjust feedback intensity accordingly (based on user preferences). Additionally, the patent hints that future Code devices might provide even greater user feedback customization. Currently, the flashing red LEDs used to capture images can adjust according to ambient lighting to ensure scans are successful.
Haptic device feedback communicates with users through physical sensations, often vibrations. Common use cases include video game controllers that incorporate haptic feedback to create a more immersive player experience, smartphones that shimmy while users toggle through options, and smartwatches that pulse when "waking up."
Barcode scanners with haptic indicators allow workers in noisy industrial environments to scan items and receive feedback without hearing or looking at their devices. And in loud event spaces that make auditory notifications difficult to hear, haptic feedback enables users to easily validate tickets or wristbands.
Code offers barcode scanners with adjustable feedback options, allowing users to choose between auditory, visual, or haptic settings based on demands in different environments:
• Code Reader 2700 (CR2700) - Offering unparalleled performance and designed to withstand the heavy-duty cleaners required by infectious-disease control standards, the CR2700 barcode reader is ideal for healthcare settings.
• Code Reader 1500 (CR1500) - A tethered barcode reader, the rugged CR1500 device was initially designed for industrial and healthcare environments but can also serve as a high-performance option for retail use.
• Code Reader 5200 (CR5200) - Designed for fast-paced environments, the CR5200 reader handles data from 1D, 2D, and postal barcodes with speed and accuracy. Plus, an advanced age-verification feature enables businesses to validate driver’s licenses and IDs.
• Code Reader 1100 (CR1100) - A compact, cabled barcode reader, the CR1100 device occupies minimal workspace and excels at reading mobile coupons, ticketing, and kiosk applications.
• Code Reader 6000 (CR6000) - A workhorse for industrial environments, the CR6000 direct part mark (DPM) imager effortlessly reads laser-etched, embossed, dot peen, postal, low-contrast, dense, or tiny barcodes.
• Code Reader 950 (CR950) - A robust reader that rapidly decodes 1D and 2D barcodes, the handheld CR950 device has a lightweight, ergonomic design that makes it comfortable for use over long shifts in retail environments.
Have it Your Way
Across the board, users can readily change feedback to suit workflow or operating environment. Some devices (based on price and intended uses) may offer toggle switches or programmable buttons that users depress to cycle through feedback modes and/or intensity levels. Select Code scanners, for instance, offer a few additional customization options:
1. Configuration via Quick Connect Code—Simply scan a Code-provided barcode to virtually "toggle" between customer-requested feedback modes.
2. Factory firmware customization—Code can tailor feedback mechanisms via firmware to meet a highly specific user need, operating environment, or project-specific workflow.
Whether it beeps, blinks, or pulses, a barcode reader will let you know that your price, production, or medication data has been captured and moved along so you can move on. For help finding the right barcode scanner for your organization’s needs, contact Code at [email protected] or +01 801-495-2200.