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How Groundbreaking Hotbars Technology Gives Cognex ID Readers the Advantage

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John Keating, 01-20-2012
One of the features we introduced into the new DataMan 300 was a new 1DMax+™ code reading algorithm that incorporates the groundbreaking new Hotbars™ technology. Cognex algorithms have always been top of the line and able to read codes that the competition cannot, but we’re continuously inventing and improving, and this new Hotbars technology provides a way to read 1-D barcodes that is brand new, enabling a cost effective way to bring imagers into more 1-D reading applications.

So what is Hotbars? Well, I won’t be able to reveal the secret sauce since this is a patent pending product for Cognex, but I’ll give you a high level overview. What we’ve done with Hotbars is revolutionized the way barcodes are located and decoded.

The state of the art for finding 1-D barcodes (prior to Hotbars) was used by most image based readers, and that has issues with low contrast, low resolution and blurred codes.  With image-based technology there are really four steps to reading a barcode: take an image of the barcode, find the barcode in the image, generate a signal and decode it. We revolutionized barcode finding phase with the introduction of the DataMan 500 product line and 1DMax™, now Hotbars revolutionizes the signal generation phase..  The algorithm must provide a good “signal” to the decoder to ensure it can be read. Hotbars focuses on signal generation in order to make decoding better and faster. It improves the signal quality and drastically increases the speed of signal acquisition. Because speed is increased so much, it means you have more time available for decoding.

So what does Hotbars do for you?

        1.    Faster reads
        2.    Ability to read badly damaged codes

When I say faster, I mean Hotbars is around 20x faster than the old methodology that barcodes readers used to generate a signal… lightening fast. And that enables DataMan to read barcodes that are incredibly damaged at fast speed without requiring special hardware technology.

It’s rare to increase performance in one area without paying for it another. But, Hotbars does that. Because Hotbars gives a better input to the decoder so you can get a better output, we are able to get an increase speed AND we’re able to read more difficult codes.

Be sure to take a look at some of our demo videos of Hotbars in action!

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