[QODLink]
Americas

Barcode co-inventor dies aged 91

Norman Joseph Woodland co-invented the barcode that labels billions of products in stores around the world.
Last Modified: 14 Dec 2012 01:29
Since the 1970s, items sold around the world are labelled with barcodes [Reuters]

Norman Joseph Woodland, the co-inventor of the barcode that labels billions of products in stores around the world, has died at his New Jersey home at the age of 91.

Woodland's death was confirmed by his daughter, Susan Woodland, who told the New York Times he died on Sunday from effects of Alzheimer's disease and complications of advanced age.

Woodland and co-inventor Robert Silver were students at Philadelphia's Drexel University when Silver overheard a grocery-store executive asking an administrator to support research on how product information could be captured at checkout.

The pair earned a patent in the US in 1952 with Woodland's idea to create a shape of concentric circles. The patent was later sold for just $15,000.

The technology did not catch on until the 1970s, when Woodland's employer IBM promoted a rectangular barcode that was adopted as the standard.

The modern-day barcode is estimated to be scanned more than five billion times every day.

159

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Swathes of the British electorate continue to show discontent with all things European, including immigration.
Astronomers have captured images of primordial galaxies that helped light up the cosmos after the Big Bang.
Critics assail British photographer's portrayal of indigenous people, but he says he's highlighting their plight.
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
Featured
No one convicted after 58 people gunned down in cold blood in 2009 in the country's worst political mass killing.
While hosting the World Internet Conference, China tries Tiananmen activist for leaking 'state secrets' to US website.
Once staunchly anti-immigrant, some observers say the conservative US state could lead the way in documenting migrants.
NGOs say women without formal documentation are being imprisoned after giving birth in Malaysia.
Public stripping and assault of woman and rival protests thereafter highlight Kenya's gender-relations divide.