This weird bar code scanner app reads funny-shaped codes from computer screens!

We’ve just done a short video for the UPCZilla bar code price comparison app to demonstrate (in answer to a question that cropped up on Quora or Reddit or somewhere) that mobile barcode scanner apps CAN read bar codes from a computer screen (a laser scanner likely cannot, though). Check it out below.

We also thought it would be a good time to mention a fun Reddit ‘sub’ (subforum) called /r/BarcodePorn, where you can see lots of imaginatively-shaped barcodes, like the cute ‘bearcode’ in our demo above.

Yes, in case you are wondering, theĀ vertical shape of a barcode does not really matter, scanners will read it no problem, as long asĀ horizontally there is at least some section where the full width of the barcode is displayed – this applies to any 1D barcode, not just UPCs. See the example below:

Demonstration of shaped barcodes, one can be read, one can't

The barcode on the left is a vague animal shape, but a barcode scanner CAN read it because there is a horizontal line at the top where all the vertical lines are present, none are cut off. The scanner may have more trouble reading it just because it can’t immediately find that horizontal series as it’s quite narrow, but it will read it.

The bar code on the right CAN’T be read because there is no single horizontal section that contains all the necessary bars, and most readers (at least, including the Google Vision reader that powers our app) can’t piece the information together. Try it yourself with the UPCZilla Android app and find a secret doggo as a bonus!

(Oh, also note in the video that our app found the bear pancakes CHEAPER online than in a retail store, by quite a large amount! Just saying!)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.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