Coinventor of the barcode, Norman Joseph Woodland, dies at 91

Last year saw the death of the man largely responsible for bringing the barcode into the mainstream, Alan Haberman, and this week has unfortunately brought the sad news that one of the men responsible for creating it has also died. As The New York Times reports, Norman Joseph Woodland, who co-invented the optical scanning method with Bernard Silver, passed away on Sunday at the age of 91. While it would take a few decades to catch on, the duo invented the technology sixty years ago, winning the patent for it on October 7th, 1952 -- in that incarnation, though, the barcode was a circular design, and required a massive scanner equipped with a 500 watt lightbulb. Woodland had quite a career beyond that invention, though, including time spent on the Manhattan Project during World War II, and a lengthy tenure at IBM, where he worked from 1957 to 1981. He was also awarded the National Medal of Technology in 1992, and in 2011 was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

[Image credit: IBM / The New York Times]

Coinventor of the barcode, Norman Joseph Woodland, dies at 91