- A precise arrangement of parallel vertical bars and spaces of varying widths, encoded with characters such as letters, numbers, or symbols. These bars are read by optical devices called bar-code readers, which may scan the data horizontally and/or vertically, or at any angle. Bar codes serve for rapid and error-free entry of information, and are used, for instance in retail stores or libraries, or to help robots identify components in assembly facilities. Also spelled barcode. Also called bar-code symbol, or optical barcode.
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