Online Home Library management

December 28, 2007

A flash based webcam barcode reader

Filed under: Home library,tools — gurulib @ 9:16 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Finally, I completed a webcam based barcode reader that is written in flash. The earlier method of uploading the pictures resulted in lot of failed reading. Naturally nobody really used that feature. Meanwhile, I was searching for a technology that will allow webcam capture from a browser. Adobe Flash seemed to be the ideal choice. So after couple of days of learning to program in flash, I ported my barcode decoding code to flash. I am still testing this new feature and would like to have some feedback on the effectiveness of this new barcode reader . A 1 minute video instruction of how to use webcam as a barcode scanner

You can find the demo flash webcam barcode reader here .

webcam are not designed to work as barcode readers, so this flash component won’t work as fast as the barcode readers in walmart. You need to bring the barcode very near to the webcam and should have a steady hand. The barcode picture below will give you an approximate idea how close you need to bring the barcode to the webcam. The flash code need a good barcode picture with white bars and black bars clearly visible. If your hands are shaky, the webcam blurs the image. Let me know your experience and I will try to improve it.


UPDATE: Cheap webcams don’t have enough resolution to work as barcode scanners. I use Philips SPC325NC Webcam. I bought this webcam for around $35 from Walmart. Also make sure that your webcam’s manual focus control is set such that it gives a good focus at approx. 2 – 3 inches from the webcam. Additionally, having a good lighting in the room should help.



  1. I’m a new user and didn’t realize this feature was new.

    It works great! Anything with an exposed barcode is picked up easily by the application. (Granted, I _am_ using a Canon HV20 camcorder as my “webcam”) The only real problem is that only about 40% of books will come up given the correct UPC.

    Comment by Patrick Lucas — January 6, 2008 @ 8:30 pm | Reply

  2. Thank you Patrick for testing this feature. Glad to know that barcode reader is working for you. I am still working on improving the conversion rate of ISBN. GuruLib by default uses Amazon servers to pick up the book information from an ISBN. You can add public libraries such as Library of Congress in your source list. This should fetch books that Amazon normally don’t carry.

    Comment by gurulib — January 7, 2008 @ 12:42 am | Reply

  3. Your webcam barcode scanner is the only one I found that really works!

    Any chance, that you will publish the source of it? Or will it be possible to buy the component?

    Comment by nck — January 8, 2008 @ 4:42 pm | Reply

  4. Thank you nck for using the barcode feature. You may buy the flash swf component for $60. Your support will help me raise enough money to purchase Adobe flash CS3 before my trial version runs out in 14 days.

    Comment by gurulib — January 8, 2008 @ 11:19 pm | Reply

  5. Hi
    I think I’ll buy it. What licence will it be?
    For $60, will I get the complete source or just the component?
    And what about commercial usage of it?
    Greetings from Switzerland

    Comment by nck — January 9, 2008 @ 10:03 am | Reply

  6. You will get the flash component and you could use it for any commercial purpose. Why don’t you send me an email at

    Comment by gurulib — January 9, 2008 @ 7:57 pm | Reply

  7. […]  UPDATE: We have developed a real time webcam barcode reader using Flash. You can read about the blog and watch a demo Video here […]

    Pingback by Barcode feature working again and GuruLib going mobile « Online Home Library management — January 14, 2008 @ 11:31 am | Reply

  8. that is verry good thank you now can i do it

    Comment by callum — April 4, 2009 @ 8:42 am | Reply

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