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An optical scanner is device that is able to read text or illustrations that are written on paper and change them to a form that can be used by a computer (Mcqinn 2002). An optical scanner first digitizes an image by dividing it into a grid of boxes and then represents each box with either a zero if the box is not filled in or a one if the box is filled in (Mcqinn 2002).
The basic idea leading to the development of the first barcode can be traced back to the year 1948. Norman woodland, a teacher at Drexel Institute in Philadelphia invented the first barcode around this time using Morse code which consisted of a series of dots and dashes similar to those used in telegraph and radio communications (Mcqinn 2002) . He wrote the dots and dash representation of the product number and then vertically extended the lines of each to create a linear barcode. In order to read the barcode, Woodland used the principle used in Deforest movie sound system which used a sensitive tube to detect light shining on a film from a projector. Unlike in the movie whereby this light would be converted to sound, woodland converted the light into numbers. Woodland then changed the lines to circles to make the code readable from all directions (Mcqinn 2002) .
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In 1949 , woodland made the first prototype reader using a technology that involved the use of an incandescent bulb. This reader was as large as a trunk and its output could not be understood by a store's manager or even a customer (Mcqinn 2002). To come up with something more meaningful, other inventors proposed better methods of collecting product data through the 1960's. David Collins for instance developed a railway car tracking system which used a series of colored stripes made of reflective materials representing a 10-digit number. A Sylvania computer could interpret and represent the data to operators . later , Collins used a laser beam as a light source which was smaller , cooler and could be moved easily and rapidly back and forth over the code (Mcqinn 2002). This gave rise to the terms barcode scanner as the laser would pass over the code several times in one second. These barcodes held only 2 digits of data. Modern barcode can be traced to George Laura . it is split into halves of six digits each with the first digit being a zero. The next 5 digits represent the manufacturer of the product while the seventh to the eleventh digit represent the product number (SKU). The last digit on the other hand is used as a check digit to ensure that the code was read correctly (Mcqinn 2002) .
The last ten years have seen a great advancement in the development of bar code readers. Bar code readers over the last ten years have gone through great evolution (Mcqinn 2002) . To start with ,conventional bar code readers using either one of these two scanning approaches have been used (Mcqinn 2002). In one approach, a laser beam is used to scan the code in order to measure the intensity of light reflected from the black and white pattern of barcodes. This approach is slow (less than 1000 frames per second) due to the activity of the mechanical scanner . The second approach involves the use of a digital camera to take a picture of the codes which is then recognized by a computer (Mcqinn 2002) . This approach involves the use of CCD or CMOS- based digital devices. This has a frame rate of about 1000 frames per second.
Based on a series of recent breakthroughs in ultrafast conversion of analog data to digital, a bar code reader that can operate a thousand times faster than any device has been developed by engineers in UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science (Mcqinn 2002). This scanner uses an imaging technique that enables the detection of ultrafast ,non-repetitive transient phenomena in real time. This scanner is capable of producing one dimensional barcodes with a frame rate of 25 million frames per second. The bar codes are read by optically scanning the alternating light and dark bars of the codes . A computer program is then used to convert the image into digital form and this enables decoding of the information stored in the code (Mcqinn 2002) .
Barcode scanners are mostly used to automate supermarket checkout systems. They've also been used in Auto ID Data Capture (AIDC). This device has also been greatly used to keep track of items in a store hence reducing greatly cases of shoplifting involving swapping of price tags (Garuiya 2007). Barcode scanners can also be used in shop control applications software for scanning of work orders by employees and also entry of time spend on a job (Garuiya 2007). Retail chain membership cards which are commonly used by grocery stores use bar codes to uniquely distiquish consumers hence helping retailers to understand individual consumer shopping patterns. Barcodes can be used in hospitals to uniquely identify patients hence enable clinical staff to easily access patient's data. Document management tools use bar-coded sheets to enable separation and indexing of documents especially those imaged in batch scanning applications (Garuiya 2007) .
Barcodes have also been used to track movement of rental cars, airline luggage , nuclear waste, mail and parcels. Barcodes have been used by scientists on individual bees to track their mating patterns (Margetts 1999 ). The entertainment arena has also used barcodes on tickets which have to be validated before their holder enters the venue of the event hence enabling the proprietor to easily sniff out those with counterfeited or fraudulent tickets (Garuiya 2007).
Optical mark recognition has developed from earlier technologies , for instance the machines used to aid the blind in the 1900's. Before the OMR could be used for data entry in computers , paper tape and punch cards which would use holes punched into the medium in place of circles filled with pencils were used (Garuiya 2007) . Paper tape was used as an input device for telegraph while punch cards were used as input device for computers. The first scanner would sense the electrical conductivity of graphite pencil lead by the use of pairs of wire brushes that would scan the written page(Garuiya 2007) .
Later versions of optical mark recognition devices used a scanner which would shine a beam of light on a paper. Different positions would then reflect the light differently depending on weather they are marked or not. Marked areas would reflect less light compared to the unmarked areas (Garuiya 2007) . The last ten years have seen the development of a software that makes OMR compatible with a computer and uses an image scanner for operations such as processing of surveys, attendance , tests , sheets and checklists (Cummings 2006 ) .
The most common application of OMR is in the marking of multiple choice questions in examinations and questionnaires. Such questions would take a lot of time and labor to mark manually hence would be costly (Cummings 2006 ). OMR has a variety of other applications : processing community surveys, consumer surveys , tests . They are also used in data compilations , product evaluation , membership subscription forms (Cummings 2006 )
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A scanner is a device that scans images , printed text as well as handwritten text s and objects optically and converts them to a digital image (Cummings 2006 ).
Traditionally, telephotography and fax input devices were used for scanning. Such devices used a rotating drum with a single photo detector at a speed of about 60 to 120 rpm. They would send a signal through a standard telephone voice lines. This signal would then reach a receptor which would at the same time print the proportional intensity on a sheet of paper (Cummings 2006 ).
The last few years have seen the development of high volume as well as high capacity document scanners. These scanners give high consistent speed and accuracy leading to an increase in productivity rate hence reducing operating costs (Bryan 2006) . Such scanners have automatic feeders which can hold up to 1,000 papers of varying sizes and weights. Such scanners can be adjusted for left , center , or right feeding to decrease the preparation time for documents. Such scanners give jam free high speed operation of up to 160 pages per minute. This speed is 175% faster than that of previous scanners (Bryan 2006) .
Automated document scanners have a variety of uses: Creating a digital filing cabinet to save records, making copies by scanning a document into your computer and then sending the image to an email account and then printing it at a public computer that is connected to a printer (Bryan 2006). Other uses include sharing of photographs by scanning them , saving of business cards by scanning them and then saving them into your computer instead of filling them which would make it difficult to locate them fast (Bryan 2006) .
Early fingerprint scanners were quite huge and bulky . Modern standard systems consist of a sensor for scanning a fingerprint and a processor for storing the fingerprint database (Molinari 2007) . The system also comprises of a software that compares /matches the fingerprint to the contents of the database. Each fingerprint in the database is assigned a reference number which is then attached to the person's name (Molinari 2007) .
Biometric scanners are used today in large firms to carry out employee identification though they are still quite expensive (Molinari 2007) . Other uses of biometric scanners include control of employee and visitor traffic for security purposes in big organizations . Biometric time and attendance systems have also been used to eliminate time clock theft by ensuring that employees don't report to work late or leave early (Molinari 2007).