Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Barcode scanner uses a Liquid Lens just like a human eye

Industrial barcode scanners have to be tough to survive in warehouse and manufacturing environments, but they also need to perform their primary function of barcode reading, in what can be very challenging conditions, and be able to adapt to the fast changing needs of a busy workplace.

Reading all barcodes, first time, every time is the most important thing to the worker, so a barcode reader that can adapt to the circumstances and "just read the barcode" allows the user to concentrate on the work, not on the kit.

The problem is that until recently barcode scanners were nowhere near as good as the human eye at reading at a distance or close up, a bit like when we get older and need both reading and distance glasses (like me).

Until now that is! Now an amazing new technology that uses a solid state "liquid lens" and refocusses in milliseconds has been built into the latest Datalogic PowerScan 9500 HP industrial barcode readers.

What does this mean? Well it means that this barcode scanner can refocus on the barcode at different distances, just like a (young) human eye.  Do you remember as a child being surprised that Grandpa needed glasses to read and different glasses for everything else?

Well most barcode scanners are a little like Grandpa, with quite a short depth of visual field where barcodes are in perfect focus and everything else is a bit fuzzy. But the new "liquid lens" PowerScan 9500 HP has a lens that can be reshaped instantly, just like an eye, and this means that the barcode being scanned is always in focus.

And now for the science:  Using a technique called Electrowetting the lens is focused using an electric field to reshape a special oil/water lens cell. There are no moving parts and the cell is totally sealed, only the internal liquids change shape.

This gives the lens fantastic shock resistance and a focal length from 5cm to infinity, perfect for reading small barcodes near to and large barcodes far away. Ideal for a warehouse or loading yard, where the operator needs to read barcodes on a loading sheet and racking bays or pallets.

Datalogic PD9530 HP connected to a DLoG MTC 6/10
Many barcode scanning applications don't need such sophisticated near/far scanning, but in fast paced warehouse logistics and manufacturing environments, this technology is the key to smooth work-flow and happy workers. There is nothing more frustrating than a barcode that wont scan! Especially if it happens all the time, leading to unhappy workers and slowing transaction speeds. I expect we will soon see this technology in many other devices, as it's much more powerful than providing barcode scanners with better glasses!

If your barcode scanners suffer from poor vision, call our sales team to arrange a demo of the new Datalogic Powerscan, its a real eye opener!

Written by David Parkinson - partner at Dash Computer Products, who specialises in barcode driven WMS, hand held and fork truck mounted computers and data capture solutions.
contact David on 01200 441977 or email here:  Sales@Dash Computer