It’s likely we have seen much more QR Code(s) in the last 2 years than ever before. Thanks to the 2020 pandemic, restaurants are keen not to share physical menus. Shops would prefer and like their customers to join their virtual queue. Some places like gyms, libraries would like to contact people in case of an outbreak.
But how do QR Codes actually work and how have they managed to virtualize the physical world around us?
The solution to all of these modern problems is of course a QR Code. A type of 2D Barcode was first invented in Japan in 1994. The design was modelled on the coloured pieces from Go (a board game) even more popular than chess across much of Asia. Traditional barcodes were already in existence but the amount of data they can store is limited. Manufacturing plants like car factories need technology that can store more information.
History of QR Code
Denzo company devised the first QR Code short for quick response. It was able to scan various car components at high speeds. It enabled them to be sorted, stored or combined much more efficiently. By the early 2000s, the use of the codes had become widespread across most of Japan, especially in logistics. It is used for processes like shipping and handling but also in everyday life like in airports and street posters. The novelty of the new shape and the rise of phones with built-in cameras was a match made in heaven.
By this point, the established design for code was a trio of black squares, one each in the upper left, upper right and lower-left corner. It enabled scanning devices to detect their presence immediately. The design was soon approved by the international organisation for standardisation(ISO). So the turn of the millennium it got widespread all over the western world.
In most everyday cases QR Codes are simply a replacement for a web address. It saves users from typing out a lengthy URL and allows them to simply scan a barcode with their smartphone. In the last few years, android and apple have integrated QR code readers into their camera apps. It notifies the user when a code is scanned and detected then brings them to the desired webpage.
QR codes also come with error correction built into their design meaning they can often still find you the correct redirection even when the code is damaged or dirty. Buses, business cards and magazines are places where you can find the QR Codes today, as the use becomes increasingly common in advertising.
Countries like Russia and Ghana have even featured on their currency. It keeps historical events linking to a website with further details.
Admittedly the technology isn’t perfect. QR Codes have become tools for hackers. They can replicate a well-known website and trick targets into disclosing their personal data. The lean on a strong internet has also been condemned by tourists. The people of rural locations.
Still, the QR Code is ruling in its best and delivers information to the user wherever they are in the world. Anyone can create a QR Code for their own using different social media platforms.