How to Read Barcodes

How to Read Barcodes


This video was made possible by Squarespace. Build your website for 10% off over at Squarespace.com/HAI. So, when you stop in a store and scan a soda,
the beeper beams lasers and the barcode becomes numbers. This thing, though, isn’t free, no, because
of these guys. But enough of that poetry poppycock. This is the headquarters of the GS1 Organization
which basically runs the world’s barcodes. They’ve created and maintain a common standard
of barcode that works anywhere. No matter if you scan a product at a Tesco
in Thurso or a Coles in Canberra, the machine will recognize what it means thanks to this
organization, but here’s how it works. A normal barcode has 95 bars that are each
either black or white. These first three always look like this, the
middle five always look like this, and the last three always look like this. That’s to differentiate the different sections. The remaining 84 bars are split into groupings
of seven in order to make twelve sections. Each grouping of seven corresponds to a number. For example, this means zero, this means one,
this means two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, and nine, unless they’re on the right
side, because simplicity sucks. For the groupings of seven on the right, this
means one, this means two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, and nine. Got it? Good, because the main difference between
the codes for numbers on the left and the codes for numbers on the rights is the number
of white bars. For example, the code for six on the left
has two white spaces while the code for six on the right has five white spaces. For nine it’s four on the left and three
on the right. You might see a pattern, all the codes for
numbers on the left have even numbers of white spaces, all the codes for numbers on the right
have odd numbers of white spaces. This is so, if the code is upside down, the
scanner knows to read the code from the opposite direction. If it sees the codes with odd numbers of white
spaces on the left, the machine knows to start reading from the right. But before being able to make barcodes, you
need a company prefix because the first bit of any barcode is devoted to identifying the
company that makes the product and then the first three digits of that identify the country
where that company is from. For example, this cream cheese, which was
one of five things in my fridge, starts with country code 622 which corresponds to Switzerland
where the European headquarters of the manufacturer, Mondelēz International, is. Each country worldwide has it’s own code,
and don’t worry America, you’re still number one, but also 2 thru 19, 30 thru 39,
and 60 thru 139 because big countries need lots of codes to allow for lots of companies. After the country code comes the company code,
but the number of digits varies. Basically, whatever space that isn’t filled
by the company prefix, with the exception of the 12th digit, can be used for product
codes. So, the GS1 organization prices the company
codes based off their length. You can buy a ten digit company prefix, which
includes the country code, for only $250 since there are 10 million of them for each country
code, but then you would only have one free digit left so you could only have 10 different
products. Therefore, if you’re a much bigger company
you want to have a much shorter prefix. So, GS1 sells company prefixes as short as
six digits but they cost $10,500 since there are only a thousand of them out there for
each country code. With a six digit company prefix, you can have
as many as 100,000 different products. The product codes, living here between the
company prefix and the 12th digit, don’t really have a common standard so each company
can set their own codes. They all go into a central database so any
store worldwide selling this cream cheese, for example, can know the code. But then there’s this 12th digit. This is there to make sure that the scanner
read the rest of the digits correctly. It’s called the check digit. What you do to calculate the check digit is
to add the numbers from all the odd-numbered positions, multiply by three, add all the
even numbered digits, then subtract that number from the nearest multiple of ten. Easy, right? At least if you’re a machine. If the result equals the final number, the
machine knows that it read the barcode correctly. Although, if you’re not a machine, what
might not be easy is building a website, unless you use Squarespace. With Squarespace you can make a website without
any coding or advanced design knowledge using their beautiful templates and powerful website
builder. I use Squarespace for all my websites since
it just works. If you do ever have an issue they have superb,
award-winning customer service available to help you with anything and everything. The best news is that Squarespace is offering
10% off their already reasonable prices by going to squarespace.com/HAI. If you have a youtube channel, a business,
an event, or anything else, it’s worth getting a website and there’s nowhere better to
build it than squarespace.com/HAI.

100 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *