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IEEE Presents Drexel University, Birthplace of the Barcode, with an IEEE Milestone in Electrical Engineering and Computing

23 October 2012 ­­– On 22 October, IEEE commemorated the 60th anniversary of the invention of the barcode by dedicating an IEEE Milestone in Electrical Engineering and Computing at the Bossone Research Enterprise Center at Drexel University. Moshe Kam, 2011 IEEE President and Department Head of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Drexel, took part in the dedication ceremony.

In 1952, a pair of graduate students from a school then called the Drexel Institute of Technology patented a system for instant electronic recall of product information using patterns of lines of varying widths. The barcode was first used in grocery stores in 1966 and saw widespread use after the Universal Grocery Products Identification Code was created in 1970 to standardize common grocery items. Today the system is used around the world and has also become important to the medical field, where it is used to retrieve patient information.

The IEEE Milestones in Electrical Engineering and Computing program honors significant technical achievements that occurred at least 25 years ago in technology areas associated with IEEE. To date, more than 100 Milestones have been approved and dedicated around the world.


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