Winner of Name that Ware May 2008!

The winner of Name that Ware May 2008 is Drew, who gave the first correct response identifying the device as a barcode scanner. It is a 3800 series linear barcode scanner by Hand Held Products. Drop me an email to claim your prize!

I was a bit surprised by the overall electronics complexity of the device, but I imagine that’s an artifact of using a camera-type sensor to do barcode recognition — they need a fairly powerful CPU on the inside to run the DSP algorithms to extract the barcodes from images taken by the sensor array that is bonded on the bottom side of the board (and carefully hidden from view in the photo because it would be way too easy to guess the device based on the sensor alone!). It’s an interesting turn on how barcode scanning used to be done — with a rotating mirror and a laser and a simple detector that demodulated the bits mostly in the analog domain. As a general philosophy, the idea of “wrapping a CPU around things” (in this case, cheap, noisy sensors) to create a system that is net more reliable and more versatile is a useful architectural paradigm.

Thanks to everyone who played!

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