Exploring the Barcode Universe. A Computational Thinking Story With the Wolfram Language
Incomprehensible by humans, but child’s play for computers and phones: Barcodes are everywhere. Every product, every package, and every store shelf has them in copious amounts. Black and white patterns, often lines and sometimes dots, provide our silicon friends with a little number that encapsulates what the object is all about. Online services like barcodelookup.com provide databases with millions of items to turns those little numbers into a wealth of information, like product name, product category, and vendor-specific information. In the Wolfram Language, you can read barcodes and also create barcode images. It does not come with a built-in service to interpret barcodes but in this story, I will show you how to connect to the API from the BarcodeLookup service. Let’s start with generating barcodes ourselves. The function to use here is called BarcodeImage. It can generate the most common types of barcodes. For example, this generates a UPC barcode image: BarcodeImage["123456789999", "UPC"]
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