QR codes


Qrcode Those of you who have been following my blog for some time, might think that bar codes get me all excited. It’s not true though. However, the new QR codes are pretty darn cool, and I wish there were more practical uses for them over here. What’s a QR code you ask? Well you see one to your left!

QR codes, meaning Quick Response codes, were developed in Japan as early as 1994. It was meant to be the successor to the old-skool bar codes, and in Japan they are now the most used type of bar code. However it was not until recently that Joe and Jenny had use for them…

What sets them apart from the old style is the amount of information it can contain. As many as 4,296 alphanumeric characters! So what can you use them for? Well in Japan, cellphones come with software pre-installed that reads the barcode if you snap a picture with the camera. You can still try this out if you just have a “regular” cameraphone. Just have a look here for a tiny and free java application: http://reader.kaywa.com/. The easiest way to get it is through WAP (instructions on link). It’s a small (<200k) download. Then try out the QR code to the left 🙂

A QR code can contain any number or character, and in combination with your phone, can put that information in a context. If the code includes a URL, the default action can be to open it. If it is a phone number, it could dial it or send an SMS. And with a batch of text, you could add it all to your address book or notes. This is one way to use it. A half paper half electronic business card. Snap a photo of the code, and voila, the name, address, email and phone number(s) are added to your phone.

They are also popular in advertising. Billboards or magazines have QR codes on them, directing people to a website for instance. Below is an example of cards handed out at an Apple store, giving customers direct access to buy an iPod online via their cellphone.


You can find more examples of the use of QR codes at this blog, info at wikipedia and a generator for making your own barcodes.

And let’s hope we’ll see more of this over in Europe soon too!


2 Responses to “QR codes”  

  1. 1 Eivind

    It’s a cool idea.. and I gotta say: I like barcodes too, if only for their visuality. It’s usually the only really machine-looking element in a design.

  2. 2 Andreas

    Good point! The 0s and 1s in good old Matrix-style can get a bit repetitive…


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