While many of you may not have heard of a QR code, you may be familiar with barcodes. Barcodes are popular because of their reading speed, accuracy and superior functionality characteristics and you will see them on almost every product you buy at a mall or large store. As barcodes became popular and their convenience became universally recognised, the electronic market began to call for codes capable of storing more information and character types. However, incorporating these changes caused problems such as enlarging the barcode area, complicating reading operations and increasing printing costs.
A 2D code was then formed that used the stacked barcode method. Though this increased the amount of information stored, it had its own set of difficulties. Over time and with intense research, in 1994 a company called Denso Wave created the QR code, a 2D symbology developed with the aim of being easily interpreted by scanner equipment.
The QR code contains information in both vertical and horizontal directions, unlike the barcode that can store data in one direction only. The QR code is also capable of 360 degree, omni-directional, high speed reading. The QR code accomplishes this task through position detection patterns located at the three corners of the symbol. These position detection patterns guarantee stable high-speed reading.
Where are QR codes used?
QR codes are used to store and provide information by swiping them against a scanner. QR codes are now seen on business cards, product packaging, real estate signs to provide information on the property, T-shirts,
fruits and vegetables to say where they were grown, billboards, magazine and newspaper advertisements, interactive televisions, menus, luggage tags and libraries.
What kind of information can one store on a QR code?
The QR code can be encoded by any individual. You can therefore load any kind of information you want. It can have information on your website, blog or, if you are using it for a product, it could have information on where the product came from, what it costs and the material it is made of. Each QR code is unique, just like your fingerprints are unique.
Did You Know?
Hamilton Chan, CEO and founder of Paperlinks, has found a way to make boring black and white QR codes a lot more colourful and interesting while maintaining their information retaining capacity.
- A QR code is a 2-dimensional matrix barcode which can store information both vertically and horizontally.
- QR stands for 'Quick Response'.
- QR codes were invented by the Japanese company Denso-Wave in 1994. They have become extremely popular in Japan and have recently become more prevalent in the United States.
- QR codes can contain web links, text, phone numbers and other information.
- Codes can be read with any smartphone, as long as you have a QR code app. Most iPhones come with one.