I'd like to assess how difficult/doable is to create a barcode reader from scratch or what alternatives there are.
The application is an automated storage and retrieval system. There are containers that each have a unique code and the goal for the barcode reader is to scan the container and identify which one it is. For this reason, the reader is short range (probably 2-5 cm away from the container). The containers are also relatively small (6cmx3cm3cm). Changes can be made though.
First, I was naively thinking that one can just buy a laser that emits and detects signals controlled by an arduino. However, I have struggled to find such product.
Then to make barcode reader from scratch would require using an photo-emitter, then a photo-detector and logic (an MCU such as arduino) for the two of them to communicate. I found this project that has a diagram, but the parts they used are obsolete and a lot of links to other resources are broken. Although they share their experience and mention it was a challenge plus it didn't really work all that well.
I also searched here and it seems most people buy a handheld scanner and interface it with the arduino. That solution would not work for me because the handheld device is just too bulky, and the ones that aren't bulky are expensive. The budget for the scanner is about $50 (50 US dollars).
For this project, the barcode only needs to identify 8 containers. I think that makes it easier.
I'd like to hear people's opinions whether this project is doable or not/alternatives/maybe point out some misconceptions I have, etc. I am not an electronics expert, but like to think that I am somewhat competent and have reasonably decent foundations. If anyone can share a circuit diagram would be amazing (I have not found any project that has circuit diagrams other than the project I shared).
I will include more details to make the question more clear. Also, it is true I asked for an opinion, but I have seen other questions that ask for opinions/recommendations here such as this one, and really many others. If my question is completely off-topic, I'll delete it.
Requirements and diagram:
It is a circular disk that rotates controlled by a servo in the middle as illustrated; the dot indicates the reader (barcode, RFID or whatever reader). A) is the initial state when all containers are inside. B) is the state after container 1 and 3 have been removed; for a container to be removed, the user selects which container, then the disk rotates where the dot is and the container can be removed. Finally, the user is done using container 3. They put it where the black dot is, then the sensor should read it and detect is it container 3, then it rotates so that the empty slot is by the door.
The reader (black dot) was envisioned to be underneath the container in initial position 0.