Essential Hospital Equipment – Reviews & Information


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A barcode reader (or barcode scanner) is an electronic device that can read and output printed barcodes to a computer. Like a flatbed scanner, it consists of a light source, a lens and a light sensor translating optical impulses into electrical ones. Additionally, nearly all barcode readers contain decoder circuitry analyzing the barcode’s image data provided by the sensor and sending the barcode’s content to the scanner’s output port.

Types of Scanners Include:

Handheld scanner – with a handle and typically a trigger button for switching on the light source.

Pen scanner (or wand scanner) –
a pen-shaped scanner that is swiped.

Stationary scanner – a wall- or table-mounted scanners that the barcode is passed under or beside. These are commonly found at the checkout counters of supermarkets and other retailers.


Fixed-position scanner – an industrial barcode reader, used to identify products during manufacture or logistics. Often used on conveyor tracks to identify cartons or pallets which need to be routed to another process or shipping location.


PDA scanner (or Auto-ID PDA) – PDA with a built-in barcode reader or attached barcode scanner often used to read badges at a trade show.


Cordless scanner (or Wireless scanner) – a cordless barcode scanner is operated by an internal battery and transfers data wirelessly.


Barcode Scanner Resolution

Barcode scanner resolution is measured by the size of the dot of light emitted by the reader. If this dot of light is wider than any bar or space in the bar code, then it will overlap two elements (two spaces or two bars) and it may produce wrong output. On the other hand, if a too small dot of light is used, then it can misinterpret any spot on the bar code making the final output wrong.

The most commonly used dimension is 13 thou (0.013 in or 0.33 mm), although some scanners can read codes with dimensions as small as 3 thou (0.003 in or 0.075 mm). Most manufacturers advertise bar code resolution in mil, which is interchangeable with thou. Smaller bar codes must be printed at high resolution to be read accurately.


Major Sit/Stand brands include:

Zebra (Motorola/Symbol), Honeywell, Datalogic, Code

Visit the Scanner section on Hospital Tech Review