December 30, 2004, Everett, WA--Intermec Technologies Corp. has introduced a laser bar-code scanner based on micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) technology. The device, which is said to be more compact and reliable than current bar-code laser scan engines, is the result of five years of collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems (IPMS; Dresden, Germany).
MEMS devices are manufactured using silicon semiconductor batch fabrication techniques similar to those used for integrated circuits, resulting in entire systems on a silicon chip. When applied to bar-code scanning, MEMS technology produces a laser scan engine with faster scan rates, miniaturization, improved durability, and frictionless mechanical parts. Initial scan rates are five times faster than current mechanical motor-based laser scanners, with the capability to increase in future product generations to thousands of scans per second. This speed will allow precise high-speed scanning in two dimensions and will provide omnidirectional reading of 1-D and stacked bar codes, as well as 2-D raster scanning for matrix codes.
The MEMS-based laser scan engines expand Intermec's selection of bar-code scanning and 1-D and 2-D imaging capabilities. The first in the MEMS family of Intermec laser scan engines, the EXCELerate EL10, will be offered as the integrated laser scanner in a number of Intermec handheld computer and scanner products that will be available in Latin America, Southeast Asia, portions of Europe, the Middle East and Africa in the first half of 2005. Worldwide availability is scheduled for the second half of 2005. The EL10 is designed to industry-standard shock specifications for bar code systems. During its years of development, it has been tested in live customer applications in multiple product configurations on three continents.
Fraunhofer IPMS is focused on research, development and fabrication of photonic microsystems such as optical sensors, actuators for light deflection and modulation, readout and control ASICs for MOEMS (micro-opto-electromechanical systems), as well as complete imaging systems, including image capturing, data handling, and data transmission and displays.