Unofficial Norman Woodland bar code Google doodle

Google posts doodles on death anniversaries and not on deaths. But the very purpose of Cutting the Chai’s unofficial Google doodles are to imagine the doodles that Google didn’t or doesn’t do.

On of my favourite pieces of tech, that fascinated me as a child was the bar code. I thought it was cool to have a product with a bar code and even in the hand-made magazines that I put together, I added a hand-made barcode (which the bar code scanners wouldn’t have anyway recognised).

This Friday (December 14, 2012) Norman Woodland, the co-inventor of the bar code, died from complications related to Alzheimer’s disease. He was 91.

Woodland and Bernard ‘Bob’ Silver devised the bar code as engineering students. They applied for a patent in 1949 and in 152 were awarded the patent. Silver died in 1963, years before the first bar code scan that took place on June 26, 1974, in Troy, Ohio. The first bar code scanned product was a 10-pack of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit gum purchased by Clyde Dawson. The pack cost 67 cents.

So when the news of Woodland death appeared on my phone’s Google Reader app, I thought that the bar code pioneer’s passing called for a doodle. And here it is.

Unofficial Norman Woodland bar code Google doodle

On October 7, 2009 Google posted a bar code doodle to commemorate the 60th anniversary the invention of the bar code, which was the word “Google” encoded in Code 128 barcode symbology. The Norman Woodland doodle also uses Code 128 to depict the Google letters, but also adds the Google colours for effect.