As part of being a huge nerd product manager/marketing dude, I need to keep up with random tech blogs & journals to see if there are “emerging markets where we can leverage our unique offerings.” Or it’s fun to read articles about POS gear from people outside of the industry. Take your pick. Case in point, this article about a girl in Pennsylvania who claims a barcode scanner caused burns on her face and gave her Tourette’s syndrome. It’s very interesting that technology that is very much integrated into our daily lives can still be so foreign to a large portion of the populace.

After many many episodes at work of a coworker saying “Hey, check out this page” only to look up and get blasted in the face with a 2D imager’s techno flash dance party illumination, I feel like I can state that no, light from a barcode scanner cannot cause physical harm. And that revenge is best served when they’re on the phone.

The article also reminded me of a customer interaction right after I started working here. It was the owner of a business with his lawyer on a conference call, wanting to verify/dispute the claim that one of their employees suffered eye damage from looking directly into an LED barcode scanner. I had been working here all of… a month… so I had a little inkling that it wouldn’t hurt but I still asked my supervisor, who promptly started laughing. Being the uninformed brand new employee I was, I said that maybe if the person stared into the beam all day everyday for a year, they could quite possibly have something that happens that is different from if they didn’t do that. Pretty vague, but I like it. I was also trying not to giggle at that point.

The beam LED barcode scanners emit can’t hurt you, otherwise LED lightbulb manufacturers would be in hot water. Laser barcode scanners still have the same warning you see on laser pointers, and that’s because it’s more focused energy. Some of the stronger scanners (class II & class III lasers) could cause problems with prolonged exposure, but manufacturers wouldn’t build a product to be used by adolescents if it could cause blindness. That’s how they go out of business.

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Motorola MT2000

April 6, 2010

Hey it’s been a while since I made a post. Like over a month. That’s not a good way to build a readership. But here it is, some new gear from our friends at Motorola. The MT2000 is an upgrade and replacement over the old Phasers, and it seems to try to bridge the gap between barcode scanner and batch data collector.

There are two flavors of the MT2000, the MT2070 which is batch and bluetooth, and the MT2090 which has an 802.11b/g radio built in. You also get your choice of laser scanner, 2D imager, or a high density 2D imager, so you only have to pay for the barcode scanning you need and nothing extra. As fantastic as the laser barcode scanner is, I definitely recommend the 2D imager. Motorola’s made great strides in their 2D imaging technology, and the MT2000 definitely shows the fruits of their labor. This is the same imager that’s found in the DS9808, a presentation scanner fast enough to keep up with grocery store scanner/scale combos. It’s pretty badass.

The MT2000 has a similar design to the Phaser, looking like something you’d imagine Commander Riker would be using to shoot aliens. Phaser is definitely an apt name for the product. It’s pretty comfy to use, and the balance of the device prevented wrist strain during extended scanning. Motorola also beefed up the durability on the MT2000, giving it a drop resistance of 6-feet to concrete and a “sneeze-proof” IP54 rating.

Overall, the unit has a good design and should fit in well at retail establishments or warehouses alike. It runs Windows CE 5.0 Core with a default barcode/quantity application installed by default. While in bluetooth mode, the MT2000 can send barcode data individually or in batches to your computer, and can filter by location.

I spent the better part of two weeks working with a MT2090, which is the WiFi flavor of this line, and I can definitely see it fitting into businesses that may need to do batch scanning but need a bit more than a Honeywell Voyager BT in memory mode or an Opticon OPN2001. By default, our version sent data to the communications cradle and on to whatever text field happened to be active. Batch data can be delimited by tab or comma, so a combination of a MT2000 and Notepad can make it easy to build CSVs for receiving or even creating purchase orders.

All in all, it’s a good unit. I did try to disable the built-in software, in hopes that I could boot into Windows CE by default, but was unable to do so. This could make it a little bit more difficult for developers to get their software onto the MT2000, but according to Motorola, MCL is also supported, so if you are developing within MCL you should be set.

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