A scientist looks at a barcode under a microscope at the Zebra Supplies and Sensors R&D Innovation Lab
By Gene Hofer | November 02, 2022

These Scientists are Behind Some of the Greatest Tech Innovations of Our Time. Find Out What They’re Doing at Zebra’s Supplies and Sensors R&D Innovation Labs.

It takes a certain skill, a little inventiveness, and a lot of science to create the barcode labels, RFID tags and environmental sensors that keep you connected to your products, packages, pallets and people. Check this out.

It has been said that the “science of today is the technology of tomorrow,” and I think you’ll agree once you see how science is being applied to the research and design (R&D) of technologies that you might not consider “advanced” technology today:

  • the barcode label that lets you track your package as it travels from one stop to the next – or enables the reliable identification of an asset in the harshest environments, whether outdoors, around gasoline or where extreme temperatures are present.

  • the wristband you’re given at the hospital to help doctors and nurses positively confirm your identity during surgery or before giving you medication.

  • the temperature indicator that gives you peace of mind that a vaccine vial stayed within the right temperature range from the moment it left the production line to the moment a dose was administered. 

That’s right. Those paper-based supplies you use to keep your business (and life) on track every day are among the greatest technology innovations of our time – and they’re all the result of some very cool science.

You know what else can be credited to science?

  • The RFID tags helping manufacturers, shippers, healthcare providers, retailers, food and beverage companies and pharmaceutical companies keep tabs on every product, package and pallet they’ve either shipped or ordered along.

  • The temperature and humidity sensors used to prevent the spoilage and waste of everything from food and flowers to makeup, medicine, and electronic devices. 

And soon, thanks to the R&D being led by top scientists at Zebra’s innovation labs, science is going to give you new technologies (well, technically, supplies and sensors) that can sense and alert you to the presence of gasses, chemicals and even UV lights. 

They are able to do all of this with specialized equipment – the same you would see in top universities, following ISO standardized protocols to ensure correct testing procedures and valid results.  

Check this out:

So, if you like always knowing where your products, pallets and packages are located and what condition they’re in, you can thank the material scientists, chemists, biologists and biomedical engineers working at the Zebra Supplies and Sensors R&D Innovation Labs in Lincolnshire, Illinois, and Morris Plains, New Jersey, when you come by for a tour, which you can coordinate with your local Zebra representative or account manager. (You can also give them a shoutout on social media.) 

And, if you’re a scientist who wants to be involved in some of the most cutting-edge supplies and sensor technology projects of the 21st century, let us know.


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Gene Hofer
Gene Hofer

Gene Hofer is currently the Director of Supplies & Sensors Research and Development (R&D) where he is responsible for global R&D for Zebra core supplies and sensors. 

Gene has more than 35 years of experience at Zebra and has 8 issued US.. patents with additional applications filed. 

Gene holds a B.S. in Biology from Northern Illinois University.

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