How North Carolina is Connected to the Barcode

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We’ve all seen barcodes you can scan on groceries and other items following a shopping trip, and many of us have scanned them ourselves in the self-checkout line. But did you know that research here in North Carolina led to the adoption of those barcodes, known as the Universal Product Code or UPC?

Scientist George Laurer is largely credited with the invention of the UPC. Though the first barcode scan actually took place in Ohio, it was developed at Research Triangle Park, where Laurer worked at IBM. In the early 1970s, he took an idea for a bullseye-shaped barcode and changed it to the rectangular barcode we still use today.

So the next time you scan a gallon of milk or a loaf of bread, know that you have a North Carolina scientist to thank.

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