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Monday, January 10, 2011

QR Code (Quick Response Code)

A QR Code is a specific matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code), readable by dedicated QR Barcode reader and camera phones. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. The information encoded can be text, URL or other data.

Common in Japan, where it was created by Toyota subsidiary Denso-Wave in 1994, the QR code is one of the most popular types of two-dimensional barcodes. QR is the abbreviation for Quick Response, as the creator intended the code to allow its contents to be decoded at high speed.[1]


1 Overview
2 Standards
3 License
4 Storage
5 Variants
6 Use as artwork
7 Use in marketing
8 Use in Interpretation
9 Use in Entertainment
10 Standalone applications
11 See also
12 References
13 Bibliography
14 External links


Although initially used for tracking parts in vehicle manufacturing, QR Codes are now used in a much broader context, including both commercial tracking applications and convenience-oriented applications aimed at mobile phone users (known as mobile tagging). QR Codes can be used to display text to the user, to add a vCard contact to the user's device, to open a URI or to compose an email or text message. Users can also generate and print their own QR Code for others to scan and use by visiting one of several free QR Code generating sites. Frank C. Hudetz, a US Marketing Services Professional, claims to have invented the idea of mapping bar codes to a URL.[2][3]

QR Codes storing addresses and URLs may appear in magazines, on signs, buses, business cards, or on just about any object about which users might need information. Users with a camera phone equipped with the correct reader application can scan the image of the QR Code to display text, contact information, connect to a wireless network, or open a web page in the phone's browser. This act of linking from physical world objects is known as a hardlink or physical world hyperlinks.

Google's mobile Android operating system supports the use of QR codes by natively including the barcode scanner (ZXing) on some models, and the browser supports URI redirection, which allows QR Codes to send metadata to existing applications on the device. Nokia's Symbian operating system is also provided with a barcode scanner, which is able to read QR Codes,[4] while mbarcode [5] is a QR code reader for the Maemo operating system. In the Apple iOS a QR Code reader is not natively included, but some iTunes Apps, for free, are available with reader and metadata browser URI redirection.


A giant QR Code linking to a website, to be read with a mobile phone.
There are several standards documents covering the physical encoding of QR Code:[6]
October 1997 — AIM (Association for Automatic Identification and Mobility) International[7]
January 1999 — JIS X 0510
June 2000 — ISO/IEC 18004:2000 Information technology — Automatic identification and data capture techniques — Bar code symbology — QR Code (now withdrawn)
Defines QR Code Model 1 and QR Code Model 2 symbols.
1 September 2006 — ISO/IEC 18004:2006 Information technology — Automatic identification and data capture techniques — QR Code 2005 bar code symbology specification
Defines QR Code 2005 symbols, an extension of QR Code Model 2. Does not specify how to read QR Code Model 1 symbols, or require this for compliance.
At the application layer, there is some variation between implementations. NTT DoCoMo has established de facto standards for the encoding of URLs, contact information, and several other data types.[8] The open-source "ZXing" project maintains a list of QR Code data types.[9]


The use of the QR Code is free of any license. The QR Code is clearly defined and published as ISO standard. Denso Wave owns the patent rights on QR Code, but has chosen not to exercise them.[6]
The term QR Code itself is a registered trademark of Denso Wave Incorporated.[10]


QR Code data capacity[1]
Numeric only Max. 7,089 characters
Alphanumeric Max. 4,296 characters
Binary (8 bits) Max. 2,953 bytes
Kanji/Kana Max. 1,817 characters
Error correction capacity
Level L 7% of codewords can be restored.
Level M 15% of codewords can be restored.
Level Q 25% of codewords can be restored.
Level H 30% of codewords can be restored.
QR codes use the Reed–Solomon error correction.


Example of Micro QR
Micro QR Code is a smaller version of the QR Code standard for applications with less ability to handle large scans. There are different forms of Micro QR Code as well. The highest of these can hold 35 numeric characters.

Use as artwork

Edible, and scanable, QR code waffle created at NYC Resistor in 2010
Since 2006 the Italian artist Fabrice de Nola uses QR codes in oil paintings or embedded in photographs.[11]
In 2007 the British pop group Pet Shop Boys used QR code for the artwork of their download-only single Integral. The videoclip for the song also features QR code. When the codes are scanned, users are directed to the Pet Shop Boys website, and web pages about the British national identity card plans, respectively.

In 2008, the Australian born artist Simone O'Callaghan created a series of screenprinted artworks called RGB, based on QR codes. Here she challenged the latitudes of scanning technologies by altering the codes to take on more organic and less pixelated forms, whilst still ensuring that they could be scanned by a mobile phone.[12] They link to quotes about media. She also exhibited another series of works called home.html featuring QR codes linking the photographic prints to online content about the places in which the images were taken. They were exhibited as part of an exhibition called Signals in the City at the Hannah McLure, Abertay University, Dundee, Scotland.[13][14]

In 2009 the Japanese artist Takashi Murakami, in collaboration with creative agency SET and Louis Vuitton, created a design QR featuring the LV pattern and one of the artist’s characters.[15]

In 2010 the musician and artist DJ Spooky used QR code in a fine art print exhibited at Experimenta Biennale, Melbourne. Scanning the code takes users to an experiential web based artwork called the Nauru Ellegies,[16] about the complexities of the South Pacific island of Nauru.

A QR code which scans to produce the word "LOVE" was also featured prominently in Australian artist Kylie Minogue's music video for her 2010 single All The Lovers.
In June 2010, the Design Exchange, Canada's National Design Centre, unveiled a large QR installed created by Rollout Wallpaper. Rollout Wallpaper is a custom wallpaper company operating in Vancouver. The installation is part of the 'Bent Out of Shape' exhibit, curated by Design Exchange staff.

In July 2010 SYCO Music recording artist Labrinth started using QR Codes as part of a campaign to promote his debut single "Let The Sun Shine". As well as a cartoon video to educate users on how to use QR Codes,[17] they were placed in different media ranging from street posters & stickers to music videos, websites and social networks. The QR Codes take users through to Labrinth's YouTube videos, website and social network profile.

The webcomic QR Comic is made entirely out of QR codes. The first 28 entries are Isaac Asimov's short story The Last Question converted into QR codes.
The 2010 comic, Carnivale De Robotique uses a QR Code to reveal a subplot in its third issue.[18]

In October 2010, at the Toronto International Art Fair, artist Jeff Tallon displayed Canada's first QR Code painting in collaboration with the Engine Gallery. The work was a diptych that, when scanned, provided information about the adjoining panel.[19]

Use in marketing

Recently, QR codes have become more prevalent in marketing circles and have been integrated into both traditional and interactive campaigns. Media where QR codes have been deployed include: billboard ads, in-store displays, event ticketing and tracking, trade-show management, business cards, print ads, contests, direct mail campaigns, websites, email marketing, and couponing just to name a few. QR codes are of particular interest to marketers, giving them the "ability to measure response rates with a high degree of precision"[20] allowing for easier ROI (return on investment) calculation, thus helping justify spending on marketing budgets. QR codes have also been used at trade shows and in conferences.
QR Codes can be seen on an art festival map for Canton Ohio's "First Friday". The QR Code was designed by Think Roth, a multi-media marketing company from Ohio. The QR Code on the festival's map takes you to a "phone friendly" map with coupons for free coffee and art discounts around town.

In street art, La Pluma El├ęctri*k (street art collective based in Madrid) and Space Invader (from France) are only two artists who use it in the street for art purposes.
In July 2009, QR-code was created for character design and promotional materials in the Shane Acker film 9. The use of QR-code was part of the characters in the movie and culminated into a promotional campaign with unique QR-code cards, posters and street advertisements on billboards or public transportation for major popular art events. These advertisements were largely focused upon the attendees of the 2009 San Diego Comic Con and 2009 Oscars. QR-codes were integrated into the artwork and symbolized individual characters in the movie. Instructional pamphlets and videos were released to explain how the codes could be retrieved and deciphered. QR-coded artworks could be read with QR-capable cellphones for prizes and access to exclusive online content. This was one of the first major integrations of QR-code with Hollywood studios and urban environments.[21]

Use in Interpretation

QR Codes have been used to interpret natural and historical points of interest on nature trails and walking tours, adding to or replacing expensive signs.[22][23]

Use in Entertainment

QR Codes are becoming increasingly more innovative and more and more ideas for their use are becoming a reality. A games development company called Media Molecule created a game with the name of LittleBigPlanet 2 for the PlayStation 3 with QR Code compatibility. The Games web portal, has created a QR Code for every user generated level in the game and all you have to do is print that QR code out and hold it infront of the playstation 3's dedicated camera, the PlayStation Eye, while the game is running and the game will automatically take you that level on the community page. (Read the article on LittleBigPlanet 2 for better understanding.)

Standalone applications

While the adoption of QR codes in some markets has been slow to take off (particularly in markets like the United States where competing standards like Data Matrix exist), the technology is gaining some traction in the smartphone market. Many Android, Nokia, and Blackberry phones come with QR code readers pre-installed. QR reader software is available for most mobile platforms.

See also

Aztec Code
Data Matrix
Microsoft Tag
Object hyperlinking
SQR codes


1. ^ a b About 2D Code | QR Denso-Wave. Retrieved 2009-04-23.
2. ^ [ Frank C. Hudetz lists himself as the QR code inventor on LinkedIn
3. ^ Frank C. Hudetz patent for connecting UPC codes to URLs: USPTO #6,199,048
4. ^ "Nokia Europe - Nokia N80 - Support".
5. ^ "package overview for mbarcode". Retrieved 2010-07-28.
6. ^ a b "QR Code Standardization | QR". Retrieved 2009-04-23.
7. ^ "AIM GLOBAL Online Store". Retrieved 2009-04-23.
8. ^ "Synchronization with Native Applications". NTT docomo. Retrieved 17 February 2009.
9. ^ "Barcode Contents". zxing – A rough guide to standard encoding of information in barcodes. Retrieved 17 February 2009.
10. ^ "QR". 2003-11-06. Retrieved 2009-04-23.
11. ^ Fabrice de Nola at Mediamorfosi - Sud Lab (Italian). Retrieved 2010-07-25.
12. ^
13. ^
14. ^
15. ^ Designer QR Codes: Beyond Black and White. The Murakami-inspired Louis Vuitton QR code. «Creativity», April 29, 2009. Retrieved 2010-07-25.
16. ^ DJ Spooky - Nauru Elegies Retrieved 2010-07-25.
17. ^ Labrinth QR Code Transmission YouTube 26-07-2010
18. ^
19. ^ Jeff Tallon - 2010 TIAF YouTube. Retrieved 01-11-2010.
20. ^ Printers Can Demonstrate ROI to Clients Using Interactive Marketing, referenced 2010-10-22
21. ^ Find the hidden QR-Codes for Nine. «Focus Features», July 10, 2009. Retrieved 2010-08-15.
22. ^ Augusta Canal Smartphone DigiTrail Retrieved 2010-11-20.
23. ^ Augusta Canal App. Retrieved 2010-11-20.


BS ISO/IEC 18004:2006. Information technology. Automatic identification and data capture techniques. Bar code symbology. QR code. Geneva: ISO/IEC. 2000. pp. 114. at OCLC
BS ISO/IEC 18004:2006. Information technology. Automatic identification and data capture techniques. QR Code 2005 bar code symbology specification. London: BSI. 2007. pp. 126. ISBN 978-0-580-67368-9.

External links

1 comment: said...

Great post. That was a LOT of good content. Want to share these 2 QR Code app links with you incase they can be added to your post or featured in a follow-up post.
First is an iPhone app :
Second is a web app :