UCLA Creates the Fastest Barcode Scanner in the World

UCLA engineers have developed a new imaging technique for barcode scanners that provides the fastest data capture scan rates in the world.  This new imaging technique is based on recent breakthroughs in ultrafast analog-to-digital conversion and is known as amplified dispersive Fourier transform.  According to UCLA, the new CWEETS Scanner (chirped wavelength electronic encoded time domain sampling) “first maps the one-dimensional bar code image onto the spectrum of an ultrashort laser pulse and then maps that into an amplitude-modulated waveform that is captured with a single optical-to-electrical converter.”

Unlike laser barcode scanners, the CWEETS Scanner has no moving parts to limit the speed of data capture.  The CWEETS Scanner also only requires one pixel to capture an entire image unlike a CCD scanner that requires an array of pixels.  Both of these current technologies can provide frame rates of about 1,000 frames per second, but the CWEETS Scanner can read barcodes at a frame rate of 25 MHz, about 1,000 times faster than the devices currently in use.

You can learn more about the technology used in the CWEETS Scanner by watching this Video or reading the Applied Physics Letters article about the UCLA project.