QR codes were started in Japan, by a subsidiary of Toyota to track auto parts. Simply put, they are an improved version of optical reader bar codes, hence the Quick Response or QR designation.
No longer limited to the more prosaic business of inventory control QR codes are becoming a fad among digital communicators.
They are now commonly used for conveying vCard, or electronic business card, information. In Japan and South Korea they are used extensively for mobile taging; which allows smart phones to suck up your vital information and send it to your contact files after scanning it with it’s built-in camera.
QR codes are found on the back of business cards, in ads and on posters…pretty much anywhere a potential contact would be tempted to “swipe it” with their phone.
QR’s come in a variety of densities of design that carry progressively more information. For instance a version 1 QR code can convey about 10 to 25 characters, but can be scanned from a speeding car. Version 40 can hold over 4,000 characters, but requires a more precise hand off, and possibly a dedicated QR scanner.
The creative applications for this optical to digital technology are boundless. They have already been used by artists to implant coded messages in everything from tile mosaics to waffles. Micro versions convey manufacuring information more efficiently than mere serial numbers (this is important when your product is the size of a grain of rice.)
You can join the fun with a free QR code generator and download a reader for you phone here: http://qrcode.kaywa.com/
You can bet that I’ll have my QR code t-shirt ready for the next trade show.