Just the ticket
scanned by a cashier at the checkout. Forty years on, what became known as a barcode has transformed the world of commerce by providing reliable product identification, tracking and pricing. Nearly everything now comes with a barcode. As revolutionary as it was, the barcode has limited abilities. It can impart only the information it was printed with, represented by a series of horizontal stripes or a matrix pattern that can be read by an optical device, like a laser. The next generation of labelling will be more adept, containing tiny printable electronics able to generate, store and share information. These smart labels are about to become a big part of “the internet of things”.