Multiple Barcode Scanners on single computer and Unicode Symbols

Saturday, May 3, 2014

I am developing an application in MS access in which there will be multiple barcode scanners (up to 6) scanning in barcodes into my application. This is actually for a Walk-a-thon, where each student will have a barcode on them, and they get scanned each lap. Problem is since these barcode scanners work as emulated keyboards, there is potential for 2 or more being scanned at the same time, and then the output to the computer would jumble.

For example, Value on Barcode A would be 111, and Barcode B would be 222. If I scanned them both at the same time, I might get output that looked like this: 122112, when I should get 111222 or 222111.

So I thought a neat idea to avoid this issue was to use a single character for each barcode, then it would never get jumbled, however I need at least 500 unique symbols. That's beyond linear barcodes ASCII set, so I looked into 2D Barcodes (QR codes). This would allow me to store any Unicode character in the barcode. However, I noticed that when I scan back in the QR code, it actually sends several characters back as text (not the actual Unicode character). For standard characters A-Z for example it does work fine, but I need 500 characters.

I am using a MS Access form to scan the barcodes into. I can use either QR codes or regular linear barcodes, and I have total control of what is printed on the barcodes.

Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thank you.