Bar code reader measures grains and textures.
Bar code readers used in supermarkets to measure the distance between light/dark boundaries may be modified to read other information.
In the manufacture of foam plastics the cell size is important but rarely measured because the measurement process is a nuisance. A bar code reader could instantly reveal cell size along any direction if the signal were decoded differently. This would only mean the insertion of a different chip and a fixture to hold the specimen at a known distance.
This device could also be used in soil analysis, for counting threads per inch in textiles, measuring the average thickness of wood, stone, metal, or muscle grains. A noncontact device to quickly measure the particle size of granular materials could be marketed to manufacturing and agriculture.
Grain scanner: Technical notes:
This is mainly a software problem. In order to read bar codes the scanner must first detect light/dark boundaries and compare the intervals between them. This information needs to be processed differently. Instead of comparing individual consecutive intervals the average of many intervals should be obtained.
Soil, seeds, wood, textiles, and many other materials have a characteristic grain size distribution which must sometimes be determined. A grain scanner could give an instant read out of the grain size distribution. One immediate need which might be good to prototype is the cell size of cellular plastics. This is a very important property which is rarely measured because the measurement is time consuming and difficult. The scanner could be used by hand or attached to a conveyor or bin. The output number can be displayed or printed. The scanning beam will have to be made parallel or the scanner will have to be used at a fixed distance from the material.
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