Technology has made quite a big progress the past century. From giving out flyers to promote something, we now have radio and television to broadcast products to a wide variety of audiences. We also have computers to store our documents and paperwork, if in case we didn’t want to spend so much time (and money) on printing paper work. Though have you ever thought that it may sometimes be a hassle to load google in your browser or smartphone and type what you’re looking for? Have you wanted to quickly access data without going through a long process of navigation? Apparently, there are these little small black boxes, commonly known as QR Codes that can help you with that.
For some of you who are not too familiar with what this “QR Code” is, it is an abbreviation for “Quick Response Code.” It’s like a bar code that contains data or information. Once the code is read/scanned (mostly via smartphones), the person who scanned the code can access the data contained through his or her device. As I’d like to recall how my lecturer and professor described it, the QR code is like a real-life hyperlink. Because the code can be found anywhere, such as flyers, buildings, television screens and even house furniture, a person can scan the code through his device to check out its data like how hyperlinks can connect to another source of data or information.
It wouldn’t be much of a surprise if the origins of a QR code have come from the bar codes you see in supermarkets because it’s true! The popular 2D bar codes were only developed around the early 1990’s. The use of bar codes became popular so fast, due to the quick response of getting information out of it, people eventually wanted to store more information inside the bar codes and use it for other things aside from labeling products in a store, which eventually became a problem because the more information the typical bar coda had, the more lines or the wider the code will be and people still wanted to keep the size of the QR code as short as possible. Thus in 1994, the company called Denso Wave invented the QR code to solve the issue with having lengthy bar-codes.
The usual QR code is made much like a simple barcode. Both a QR Code and a barcode are have a serial number as their identity. Sometimes a barcode’s serial number is already written at the bottom.
One of the main differences however, apart from the shape, is that a bar code’s data is stored and read vertically (which explains why the more data a barcode contains, the longer it becomes) and a QR Code’s information is stored and scanned on the rows and columns created on the code. Its like a compressed barcode that has been squished into a cube. Because it is “compressed” and that it is scanned by its rows and columns, there could be more data stored inside the code and the more data the cube has, the more patterns it will develop.
To be very technical, the patterns are formed by the number of rows and columns the code has. The minimum rows and columns a QR code can have is 25 which can fit approximately 26 characters as it’s serial code or identification, followed by 26 rows and columns but fitting (again approximately) 49 characters, creating much more unique identities for the code. However, much like CDs, QR Codes can get damaged as well if printed in shirts or outside technology. Depending on the size of the code, it can sustain a certain amount of “damage.” This is where a QR Code scanner will try to read the code based on the “QR Code Error Correction” which involves complicated algorithm in order to read the damaged code. Though not primarily, this also helps people scan codes even if the QR code is facing a different orientation (upside down, flipped and etc.)
Understanding how a QR code is made and used, you can think about the possible ways of using a QR Code. Most of the time, companies create QR codes to promote their companies. As a consumer, instead of manually typing the URL of a website, I could scan the QR code with a smartphone and be brought directly into the desired website. QR codes have also been made and used to add contacts in various applications. A couple of examples I know that are popular are the BBM (Black Berry Messenger) and Snap Chat. Snap Chat has it’s very own version of a QR Code, making use of it’s logo and with the option of having a selfie on the center of the logo. It doesn’t stop with adding contacts and marketing, though! QR Memorials have started using QR Codes for the deceased so a visitor can scan the code at a person’s gravestone to view the memorable things or events of the deceased. Companies sometimes use QR codes as coupons to give customers a discount or special access to their products. Talk about saving time printing multiply flyers or cards that may not even be given away. To end this properly, feel free to read (and share) this code.
2012, QR Code features, QRCode.com, viewed 16 August 2015, <https://archive.is/20120915040047/http://www.qrcode.com/en/qrfeature.html>
What’s a QR Code?, QR Stuff, viewed 6 August 2015. <http://www.qrstuff.com/qr_codes.html>
Furht, B 2011, ‘QR Code’, in Borko Furht (ed.), Handbook of Augmented Reality, Springer Science & Business Media, pp. 341-343
2010, QR Codes and Academic Libraries, Association of College and Research Libraries, viewed 16 August 2015, <http://crln.acrl.org/content/71/10/526.short>