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.
Barcode readers can be differentiated by technologies as follows: pen-type scanners, laser scanner, CCD readers also known as LED Scanners, Camera-based readers, Video camera readers, large field-of-view readers, Omnidirectional Barcode scanners, Cell Phone Cameras, Smartphones and etc.
Barcode readers can be distinguished based on housing design as follows: handheld scanner, pen scanner (or wand scanner), Fixed-position scanner, PDA Scanner (or Auto-ID PDA), automatic reader and cordless scanner or also known as wireless scanner.