What’s QR Code?
QR codes (short for Quick Response codes) are two-dimensional barcodes that can be read by smartphones and dedicated QR code reader devices. Some key facts about QR codes:
- QR codes were invented in 1994 by the Japanese company Denso Wave to track vehicle parts in manufacturing. They became popular outside of the automotive industry in the late 1990s.
- The term “QR code” is trademarked by Denso Wave, but the barcode technology itself is not proprietary.
- QR codes can encode various kinds of data, including website URLs, contact information, calendar events, phone numbers, and plain text.
- To read a QR code, a smartphone user opens up a barcode scanner app on their phone and points the camera at the code. The phone’s software then detects the QR code, decodes the data, and performs the encoded action (like opening a website).
- QR codes are very popular in Asia and have gained more adoption globally in recent years, often used for marketing campaigns and sharing contact info.
- Compared to traditional barcodes, QR codes can encode more data and can be rendered in multiple sizes. Their data capacity scales with their physical size.
Overall, QR codes are a convenient way to share small pieces of data by encoding it in a scannable graphic format. The rise of smartphone cameras has made them very accessible.
Were can QR Codes be used?
Here are some of the most common uses of QR codes:
- Product packaging and marketing — QR codes can link to a product website, promotional info, instructions, etc. when scanned by customers.
- Business cards — QR codes can encode contact details, saving people from manually adding them to their devices.
- Advertising and commercials — QR codes can direct people to a brand’s website or campaign landing page.
- Restaurants/retail — QR codes on tables or next to items can show the menu, product details, etc.
- Event tickets and passes — QR codes can encode ticket info and help validate admission instead of paper tickets.
- URLs and links — QR codes can launch web pages, apps, media, pdfs etc. when scanned. Useful for sharing links quickly.
- Payments — Some payment apps use QR codes to identify recipients and facilitate transactions.
- Tracking and logistics — QR codes help track shipments, assets, inventory etc. by encoding identifiable info that can be scanned along the way.
- Information and education — Museums, schools, etc. can leverage QR codes to provide more info about exhibits, topics, etc.
- Product authentication — QR codes help verify the originality and provenance of luxury goods.
So in summary, QR codes are commonly used to conveniently encode data that gives quick access to online content and information. Their scannability makes them versatile across industries.
Technical Detail behind QR Codes
Here are some key technical details about how QR codes work:
- Encoding: QR codes encode data into binary format — the black and white square modules represent 0s and 1s. More complex encoding schemes optimize data capacity.
- Error correction: QR codes have built-in error correction capability to restore data even if the code is partially damaged or dirty. Typically allows recovery of up to 30% of code.
- Data types: QR codes can encode numeric, alphanumeric, byte/binary, and kanji (Japanese) data. Different modes support different data types.
- Structure: A QR code has finder patterns at the corners which help identify the orientation and alignment of the code. The data region is in the center.
- Versions: There are 40 sizes of QR codes from version 1 (21 x 21 modules) up to version 40 (177 x 177 modules). Higher versions support more data.
- Reed-Solomon coding: This redundant coding scheme generates extra codewords that can detect and correct errors. More redundancy is built into larger QR codes.
- Masking: Masking patterns are applied to the encoded data to evenly distribute 1s and 0s for better scanability. One of 8 masks is selected.
- Encoding schemes: QR codes optimize data capacity through features like data compaction and multiple data regions. Enables efficient storage.
In summary, QR codes rely on sophisticated encoding, error correction, redundancy, and masking to reliably store larger amounts of data in a scannable graphic format. The technical details enable their versatility and effectiveness.
Free Online Tool for QR Codes Generating
For easily creating QR codes, I recommend using the QR code generator at https://www.onlinecooltools.com.
This free web-based tool allows you to enter any type of data like URLs, text, contacts, SMS, and more. You can customize the QR code colors, sizes, download different image formats, and add logos.
The interface is very simple and intuitive — you just enter the data you want encoded, click “Generate QR Code”, and you get a downloadable QR code graphic. No registration required.