Demystifying the mysterious DataMatrix Barcode

April 30, 2013
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BarcodeThe DataMatrix as shown in the image has become part of everyday life now. Most know for its use on mobile phones to access information about a retail commodity the DataMatrix barcode has a very different presentation from the 1 dimensional linear barcode we have come to know so well. The 1 D barcode, recognised by its vertical straight lines and white spaces is known more to sellers, manufacturers and sellers than buyers, as its uses are primarily to monitor stock and enhance the check out process.

Endless uses for the DataMatrix barcode

However we seem to be on the tip of the iceberg as far as innovative places the  DataMatrix barcode barcode can be used. On this blog over the last months we have reported startling uses for it such as beer bottles that allow dating couples to communicate in a bar; on gravestones to help the grieving process and inform others about the deceased;  in healthcare to help the safety of the patient and it has been used to identify tiny electronic components.

Explaining the symbology

A few blogs back I broke down how a 1d linear barcode is read and what all those lines actually mean. Well, now we are going to demystify all those silly little squiggles in a DataMatrix barcode.***

  • First of all there is an ara around the DataMatrix that does not contain any graphic elements at all.  This is called the quiet zone. Any elements within this area would prevent barcode readability.
  • Around the left and bottom sides of the Data Matrix is a  solid dark line. this is called the L Finder Pattern and is primarily used to determine the size, orientation, and distortion of the Data Matrix symbol.
  • As well as the L pattern there is what is called a clock track which also determines size and distortion of the DataMatrix barcode. It can be seen as alternating light and dark elements around the top and right side.
  • Now we come to characters which are actually read. Data- Encoded within the the Finder Pattern are 2,335 alphanumeric characters or 3,116 numbers that can be encoded into the data.
  • Human Readable Information: Typically all or some of the text and numerical data encoded within the barcode will appear underneath the barcode for manual readability or entry in the even that the Data Matrix cannot be scanned.

*** http://barcodingblog.com/2013/01/18/datamatrix-design-and-implementation/?goback=%2Egde_134990_member_206020104

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