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Barcode Bliss - Part I - Integrating ProGlove Scanners with Peakboard

01 March 2023 • 5 mins

ProGlove creates next-generation barcode scanners that are integrated into a glove, so the user can scan barcodes without having to pick up and put down a conventional barcode scanner. The scanner is always “at hand.” For readers who’ve never seen a ProGlove scanner before, here’s what it looks like:

image

In this article, we’ll discuss how to configure a ProGlove scanner and integrate the scan event into a Peakboard application.

In the second part of this mini-series, we will go one step further and give the barcode scanner user feedback about the scan, like if the scanned code was processed successfully. The feedback can be given by a simple green or red light or even a small display on the scanner.

Configuration

The scanner comes with a base station called a Gateway. The easiest way to configure both the scanner and the Gateway is to use the ProGlove Insight portal.

You register your device in the portal, then configure it and apply the new configuration to the Gateway. You can do this by scanning a large barcode that holds the configuration information, or by downloading the configuration file and applying it to the Gateway by connecting the Gateway to your computer as mass storage. See the ProGlove documentation for more information.

There are two operating modes that can be used with Peakboard:

  1. The USB mode. In this mode, the Gateway is connected to the USB port of the Peakboard box. If you only have one Gateway and don’t need to use multiple scanners, and you only need the code scanning event, then this is the way to go.
  2. The MQTT mode. In this mode, the bidirectional communication is done through an MQTT server (on prem or in the cloud; either is fine). If you want to use the full power of ProGlove and give the user feedback about their scans, or use other events, then this is the way to go.

The USB mode

The USB mode is simple to apply. The following screenshot shows the configuration in the Insight portal. We just need to switch it on. That’s it.

image

Now, we can plug the Gateway directly into the USB port of our Peakboard Box:

image

In Peakboard Designer, we use the global event KeyInput. We can get the scanned code through the get string parameter block. Each time a code is scanned, this event gets triggered.

image

The MQTT mode

The MQTT mode is much more fun than the USB mode. The configuration is also not too complicated. We just need to set the broker and main topic. That’s it.

image

Each time a code is scanned, the Gateway sends a JSON string to the MQTT broker. The following is an example. Besides the scanned code, there are also some other attributes related to the scan.

{
    "api_version":"1.0",
    "event_type":"scan",
    "event_id":"22d4a950-b373-42a3-8428-7a3887e78583",
    "time_created":1699621609245,
    "scan_code":"YVQGZZNSXU",
    "device_serial":"MDMR102104863"
}

On the Peakboard side, we set the MQTT broker and configure two subscriptions. Both listen at the topic Peakboard/Gateway/PGGW402650394/scan. The topic is constructed like this:

Configured main topic + "Gateway" + Serial number of the Gateway + "scan" event

The Peakboard data source gives us the option to process the JSON immediately, using data paths. We know from the example JSON that scan_code contains the scanned code, while device_serial contains the serial number. So we configure the two subscriptions so that the JSON is translated into the scalar values we want to process later.

image

Finally, we prepare some text boxes to show the scanned code through data binding:

image

If we want our Peakboard app to react immediately after a scan, we need to put our script or Building Blocks into the refreshed event of this data source. It’s triggered every time a scan comes in on the MQTT topic.

Conclusion and result

Building a Peakboard app that integrates with ProGlove scanners is straightforward, whether you use the USB or MQTT mode. The following video shows the simple app and displays the scanned code in the bound text boxes:

Barcode Bliss - Part I - Integrating ProGlove Scanners with Peakboard

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