Scanning Barcodes from Cell Phone Displays

I’ve had a few questions recently about scanning barcodes from cell phone displays or other LCD screens and I thought adding this as a Question of the Week would help everyone out…

Question:

Is it possible to make a UPC-A barcode jpeg file from a barcode generator and send it to my cell phone, then scan that picture as my grocery membership card?

Answer:

In order to scan a barcode from an LCD display you would need a barcode imager.  Most likely, the registers at your grocery store are equipped with laser barcode scanners and not imagers.  Laser scanners aren’t capable of reading symbols from a cell phone display, so this won’t work.  It’s a good idea though.

This kind of application does exist for m-ticketing or mobile ticketing; you may be interested in reading my post about this technology.  Mobile ticketing utilizes 2D barcodes rather than a linear barcode like the UPC-A you mentioned in your question.  2D symbologies work best for this type of application and many believe the Aztec Code is the best suited barcode.  You never know, as the use of 2D barcodes spread, your local grocery store may upgrade to barcode imagers and then your application could work.  If you would like more information about barcode imagers or laser barcode scanners please contact me at ehodges@barcode.com.