I do lab samples. Currently I have a winery management system. Each time 
they move wine they have to sample it. Larger wineries will have about 
35 processes going at any time. We print sample masters that are affixed 
to sample bottles. Depending on how they set up the Sample Masters. they 
can have on average about 6 to 10 lab analysis that must be done for 
each type sample. They usually take samples about every 1/2 to 1 hour 
apart. Depending on the wine process, it could run anywhere up to 3 
days, some run a week. So for example, if they run a process that 
requires samples 1 hour apart with 6 analysis per sample, and it runs 2 
days, that's about 288 lab analysis that need to be run. And if they are 
running 35 jobs, you get a lot of  samples sent to the lab, and a lot 
more analysis from the lab.  I print the samples with a unique Bar-Code 
beside each analysis. In the lab they have many tools available for 
management such as daily, weekly, monthly, yearly analysis for 
statistical purposes. But for entering data, I have a screen the 
requests sample number (bar-coded) and next to it  a place for result. 
All they do is swipe the Bar-code (analysis number) on the sample and 
enter the result. These are sent to the system and update the 
appropriate data. Much of the lab is dry lab. Some are automated, and 
the bottles are set in a conveyor, a stationary bar-code reader scans 
the bar-code and the result is automatically sent from the lab 
equipment. Most of the automated equipment are GC's and Mass 
Spectrometers, with some miscellaneous specialty equipment.

I use bar-code 3 of 9. But the problem is, not everyone has the 3 of 9 
font. And some are on linux, Mac's, and even M$ systems. Plus there 
isn't any good bar code fonts. To get around it,  I wrote my own, and it 
does not require any site to have the font on their system in order to work.

Hope this helps some.
Have a great day... Dan.

Kirk Babb wrote:

> I'm a grad student with a university medical research lab, and they have
> thousands of samples coming through.  They want to integrate a web-based
> tracking system using barcodes and scanners to trace the samples through the
> different processing points in the lab.  And they don't want to pay for a
> commercial system - they want something "homegrown" to be cooked up.
> I "think" I can handle this, but I haven't found any info about sending data
> into a php/mysql system from a scanner.  I've come across some scanners
> which handle DDE (dynamic data exchange - sends data directly to a windows
> program) Does anybody out there do anything like this using php and mysql?
> If so, please send some suggestions my way.  Thanks!!!
> -Kirk

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