RFID and Automatic Identification Focus: Our Weekly Feature Article on Topics of Interest to those Using or Considering RFID or other Auto ID Technologies  
  - July 15, 2009 -  

RFID and Automated Data Collection News: How Well Do You Know Bar Codes?

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Test Your Knowledge and Take Our Bar Code Quiz

  SCDigest Editorial Staff  
SCDigest Says:

So how well do you really know bar codes? Take our quiz and see if you are a bar code guru or not.

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For all the noise over the past few years about RFID, bar codes are still far and away the leading technology for automatic identification across every industry.


So how well do you really know bar codes? Take our quiz and see if you are a bar code guru or not.


Question 1: What was the distinguishing characteristic of Code 39, invented by Dr. David Allais of Intermec in the 1980s?


Question 2: The familiar UPC code, which just celebrated its 35th birthday, is now referred to as what?


Question 3: The “case code” on cartons used in the consumer goods-t- retail industry uses what bar code symbology?


Question 4: The serialized case code also used in the consumer goods-to-retail channel relies on what underlying bar code symbology?


Question 5: The labels required by the US automotive industry (AIAG) and US Department of Defense (LOGMARS) require use of what symbology?


Question 6: What are the two primary differences between a general Code 128 symbology and the GS1-128 version used for serialized case identification in consumer goods to retail and other applications?


Question 7: In the 1990s, what “two-dimensional” or stacked bar code symbology was often shown encoding Lincoln’s Gettysburg address in a symbol just 1-inch by 1-inch square?


Question 8: Aztec Code, Data Matrix, and QR Code are all examples of what type of bar code symbology structure?

Question 9: Though it uses a different symbology, the case code (formerly called the SCC-14) used on many cartons sent to retail is structurally/numerically identical to the UPC code on the products inside the carton with what important difference?


Question 10: What is a “Maxicode?”



Please see the answer to our questions below:


(RFID and Automatic Identification Article - Continued Below)






Question 1: It was the first successful alpha-numeric bar code symbology that allowed letters to also be encoded, including capitals and lower case, allowing more companies to encode their product numbers and other data.


Question 2: GTIN - Global Trade Item Number


Question 3: Interleave 2 of 5 or I 2 of 5


Question 4: Code 128


Question 5: Code 39


Question 6: Use on the Function 1 character at the beginning to identify this as a GS1-128, and use of an application identifier to specify what specific type of data is being encoded (serialized case identifier, zip code, etc.)


Question 7: PDF417, invented by Symbol Technologies, now part of Motorola


Question 8: They are all “matrix codes,” another form of two-dimensional symbologies. Data Matrix is very popular in the electronics industry for encoding serial numbers in a small space.


Question 9: The case code is prefixed with a “pack identify” that references how many of the given item are in that carton configuration (e.g., 1 = 12, 2 = 24).


Question 10:  The symbology, notable by the well-recognized “bull’s eye” in the center, invented by UPS in the 1990s to speed its sortation processes by putting the destination in the code, so no database look up was required when the code was scanned.


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