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keyboard wedge (KBW)

Contributor(s): Lee Allen and Sally Carpenter

A keyboard wedge can be either a software program or an inserted hardware device that translates digital signals from a barcode reader or magnetic strip reader ( MSR ) into keyboard strokes for a computer. The software form of a keyboard wedge intercepts the dignal signals from the reader when they arrive at the computer and instantly translates them into keyboard strokes. The hardware form of a keyboard wedge inserts the translation device between the reader and the keyboard. Data sent through a wedge appears as if it was typed into the computer, while the keyboard itself remains fully functional. Because a computer using a keyboard wedge can't tell the difference between data that is entered by a scanning device, or data that is entered by keyboard typing, a wedge can be used to easily add barcode reading capability to an existing computer without modifying software applications.

This was last updated in March 2011

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