In Memoriam: Craig Harmon, Technology Pioneer and Supporter of SBU Libraries

Stony Brook University Libraries is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Craig Harmon, a leader in technology and the AIDC industry (automatic identification and data capture). Mr. Harmon recently selected the AIDC 100 Archives at Stony Brook University as the repository for his vast personal collection of papers, original writings, and artifacts. “The acquisition of Mr. Harmon’s archive is significant, as it contains unique, one-of-a-kind materials that document the AIDC industry,” according to Kristen Nyitray, Head of Special Collections and University Archives, and University Archivist. “With this acquisition, the University Libraries will be able to preserve Mr. Harmon’s many contributions to science and industry, and provide students, researchers, and scholars with access to materials pertinent to the study of barcodes, smart cards, radio frequency identification (RFID), biometrics, and magnetic stripe – technologies that encompass this rapidly evolving technology.”

Mr. Harmon was a visionary and pioneer in technology, first at Northwestern Bell, inventing the first “2400 Baud Modem,” and later, with Norand Corporation in Cedar Rapids. In 1981, he founded QED Systems, a consulting firm providing education and standards development for automatic identification technologies, such as bar codes (found on packages), two-dimensional symbols, such as the QR code and PDF 417 (found on drivers’ licenses), radio frequency identification (RFID) and real time locating systems (RTLS). 

He wrote several books, articles, and papers on the various technologies. Most notably, he was the author of Reading Between the LinesAn Introduction to Bar Code Technology. More copies of the text have been sold than any other book relating to bar code technology.

A member of the invitation-only AIDC 100, a not-for-profit, self-sustaining, non-political, international organization of automatic identification and data capture (AIDC) professionals, Mr. Harmon was the recognized leader of numerous standards organizations. He chaired numerous committees, founded many groups, served as a subject matter expert and expert witness, and helped develop the Federal Express package tracking system. He was a well-known speaker and enjoyed traveling the world while developing technology standards for the United States, Europe, and, most recently, Asia. His most recent foray was to harmonize “The Internet of Things,” the accelerating development of connected information systems that work together in our physical world, such as information systems for cars, refrigerators, home utility systems, watches, etc. Mr. Harmon will be missed throughout the industry and by his many friends and colleagues worldwide. – Excerpted from The Gazette, Cedar Rapids, IA.

Kristen Nyitray

Kristen Nyitray

Associate Librarian; Director, Special Collections and University Archives; and University Archivist at Stony Brook University Libraries
Contact her for research assistance with rare books, manuscript collections, historical maps, and SBU history. E-mail:
Kristen Nyitray
Posted in Special Collections & University Archives