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Gadgets & Apps

Happy Birthday, Bar Code

Friday marks the 35th anniversary of the first bar code ever scanned. Motorola, Inc. hide caption

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Motorola, Inc.

The illustration above was sent to me as the front of a card from Motorola, Inc. about the 35th anniversary of the first bar-code scanning ever done. It was on a 10-pack of Wrigley's Juicy Fruit at a supermarket in Troy, Ohio.

It's the kind of press release I'd typically ignore, but I have something of a fondness for bar codes. The first time I ever saw a real bar code scanner in a supermarket, I remember thinking it was the coolest thing I'd ever seen (I don't think I'd seen E.T. yet). The beeps, the rotating cans of chicken noodle soup, my God, the red lasers!

Certainly a game-changing technology. Remember when we had to draw our own bar codes by hand and scan them in ourselves with our eyes until they were bleary and tired? Look how far we've come.

You can read a lot more about the anniversary on Motorola's bar code celebration page or in a New York Times story that ran today. Maybe they got the same card from Motorola.