the best applications to read them

We all know barcodes and since the 1970s they have come into our lives so much that we hardly notice them. In this article we will see how this technology, with a few years on its shoulders but still widely used, and how it can be used with the modern smartphones or tablets that we have in our possession.

We will investigate How do barcodes work and the best applications to read them effectively.

How does a barcode work?

These codes work with a very simple concept: alternating between light and dark areas, they close an alphanumeric reference. A unique number that is often used to identify a product.

Optical readers recognize the difference between the various areas and return the associated numeric code. Technically, the dark areas are called bars, while the light ones are called pauses.

The barcode type 1D, is the canonical barcode that we are all used to seeing. 1D means a single dimension.

The 2D type code, has developed in recent years with the spread of more sophisticated and accurate readers. These are two-dimensional codes capable of containing more information (sometimes even a web address or an actual physical address). Typical examples of two-dimensional barcodes are QR codes.

Barcodes follow their own standards. The most common in our country are:

  • EAN code used for most products;
  • Pharmacode what is the code used in pharmacies and hospitals to identify medical devices;
  • Data matrix that it is a 2D code little known by the general public but widely used in the military, industrial and aerospace fields;
  • Universal Product Code used for products imported from Anglo-Saxon countries.

The best barcode scanning apps

It’s no wonder that many of the best barcode scanning apps are good QR code solutions too; in fact, as we have said, the latter are more advanced barcodes. We are looking in this article for the best App to read them, considering different solutions for iPhone / iPad and Android.

QR reader and barcode reader (Android)

This is the ideal application for those looking for a quick and easy solution, translated and with a pleasant interface.

QR reader and barcode reader it’s free with ads (sometimes invasive). There is a paid version that removes advertising and provides technical support. This application works simply and immediately: once installed, simply open it and dial the barcode directly or the QR code to be scanned immediately. Based on the data collected, you can choose if you want to share it, if you want to search on Google, Amazon or eBay and much more.

In the «History» section you can find all the scans. Therefore, it is clear that it can also be used to keep a history of the products that we physically come across and then calmly consult the offers related to those products in online stores.

If you want to try the application, available only for Android, you can download it for free from the Play Store.

For the record, we note that there is always a cloning app called in Play Store. You have QRbot, which is identical to the one we just described but with a different color for the interface. The two applications are twins and are created by the same developer (TeaCapps).

Barcode scanner (iOS and Android)

If you are looking for a professional, efficient and essential solution, Cognex Corporation is for you.

This is a completely free application (and without advertising), since the company maintains and uses it to show the great capabilities of its API.

Hands down, this is the best barcode reader you can find. It can recognize 1D and 2D barcodes of any standard in record time. Being a professional product, the interface is simple and not very refined and it is available in English.

You can download Barcode Scanner completely free from the iOS App Store and Android Play Store.

Barcode Scanner – QR Scanner (iOS)

Despite the homonymy, this application does not have much in common with the previous one.

It is a free, simple and perfectly realized solution, capable of reading both barcodes and QR codes without worry.

The application allows: using the flash to correctly illuminate the codes in low visibility situations; to keep track of all previously scanned codes (just go to the “History” section); and it also allows you to share what you have scanned via SMS, chat or social networks. The application is for elementary use and, although it is not translated into our language, it is really easy to use.

Available only for iPhone, you can download it for free directly from the App Store.

Yuka – Product Scan (iOS and Android)

Many of the apps mentioned, for the most part, are just for barcode scanning. On the other hand, the application for iPhone and Android deserves a special mention: Yuka.

This application is capable of exploiting the food and cosmetic codes. It does this to give you valid information about them.

Thanks to Yuka, your purchases will never be the same: you will know the nutritional qualities for each product and you will be able to choose wisely. The application database is constantly expanding, so more and more products are present. Yuka offers all of this with simple, colorful, and easy-to-read graphics.

If you want to try this interesting application, you can find it for free in the App Store and Google Play Store.

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