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Mobile app idea

Posted on 2017-01-04
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Last Modified: 2017-01-04
If I were to scan a product's bar code with a bar code scanner, will it return any result. Or is the barcode associated with the stores back end office only? For instance if I were to scan a package of "whatever" from Walmart or target, will it bring up what the product is? Any advice would be appreciated.
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Question by:Rafael Banks
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Assisted Solution

by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 125 total points
ID: 41948173
You need a database of products that the bar code will look through. Bar codes are not bright at all. Just a bar code and nothing else will not yield anything (other than the uPC code).
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by:Dave Baldwin
Dave Baldwin earned 125 total points
ID: 41948190
The UPC barcodes on products are valid throughout the US and are not unique to the stores.  The problem is that there are so many of them.  The first 5 digits are the company code and the second 5 are the unique product code.  That's 99,999 companies with 99,999 products each.  And it is proprietary information 'owned' by GS1 https://www.gs1us.org/ .   This site has a lookup function plus a mobile app to read the codes:  http://www.scandit.com/upc-lookup/

More info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_Product_Code
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LVL 95

Assisted Solution

by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 125 total points
ID: 41948193
Even with all that, I do not think you get any useful information about the product (like price, dating and such like). That has to come from a store database.
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Joe Winograd, EE MVE 2015&2016 earned 250 total points
ID: 41948194
Rafael,
There are different types of bar codes used on products. The two most common formats are UPC (Universal Product Code, used in the US) and EAN (initially, European Article Numbering, but now stands for International Article Numbering). In both cases, 10 digits are used for the product code (although there are more digits for other purposes, such as a check digit). Once you have the digits from your scanner, you can look up the product in a database (the codes are not associated with a particular store's back office, unlike the case with the transaction ID bar code that we discussed at your previous question). I've never personally used such a database, but plenty are out there, such as this one:
http://upcdatabase.org/

Note that it has an API so that you can call it easily from your app. Also note that their database provides an image of the item, which is something you said that you want at your previous question. Regards, Joe
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Author Closing Comment

by:Rafael Banks
ID: 41948249
This was exactly what I needed! Thank you very much.
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LVL 54

Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE 2015&2016
ID: 41948255
You're very welcome, Rafael. Good luck with your app — sounds like a fun dev project!
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