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"I just extended the dots and dashes downwards and made narrow lines and wide lines out of them." To read them, he adapted technology from optical soundtracks in movies, using a 500-watt incandescent light bulb shining through the paper onto an RCA935 photomultiplier tube (from a movie projector) on the far side.He later decided that the system would work better if it were printed as a circle instead of a line, allowing it to be scanned in any direction.The tests continued until 1967, when the Association of American Railroads (AAR) selected it as a standard, Automatic Car Identification, across the entire North American fleet. However, the economic downturn and rash of bankruptcies in the industry in the early 1970s greatly slowed the rollout, and it was not until 1974 that 95% of the fleet was labeled.To add to its woes, the system was found to be easily fooled by dirt in certain applications, which greatly affected accuracy.A barcode (also bar code) is an optical, machine-readable, representation of data; the data usually describes something about the object that carries the barcode.Traditional barcodes systematically represent data by varying the widths and spacings of parallel lines, and may be referred to as linear or one-dimensional (1D).During his time as an undergraduate, David Collins worked at the Pennsylvania Railroad and became aware of the need to automatically identify railroad cars.Immediately after receiving his master's degree from MIT in 1959, he started work at GTE Sylvania and began addressing the problem.
As its first innovations, Computer Identics moved from using incandescent light bulbs in its systems, replacing them with helium–neon lasers, and incorporated a mirror as well, making it capable of locating a barcode up to several feet in front of the scanner.
Silver told his friend Norman Joseph Woodland about the request, and they started working on a variety of systems.
Their first working system used ultraviolet ink, but the ink faded too easily and was expensive.
The invention was based on Morse code that was extended to thin and thick bars.
However, it took over twenty years before this invention became commercially successful.