QR codes are going to be the next great tech you need to know about. Remember when bar codes first became big (that is, if you’re over a Certain Age)? QR codes may become even bigger than regular bar codes!
What is a QR code?
“QR” is short for Quick Response. QR codes were developed in Japan in 1994 to help businesses transmit information quickly and efficiently. A QR code is type of bar code, a square with oddly patterned squares within it, kind of like a crossword puzzle gone horribly wrong. Here is an example of a QR code (this is the QR code for this website, The Wonder of Tech):
If you scan a QR code with a scanner, it may reveal all sorts of information such as website addresses, contact information, nutritional information at restaurants, museum exhibit information, songs, book chapters, pictures, etc.
Museums are using QR codes in their exhibits to display additional information about a display to interested visitors. Cities such as Minneapolis and London have offered tours using QR codes.
Some books now have QR codes revealing additional information from the author, video, audio tracks and places for readers to leave comments.
If you’re a realtor, you could put a QR code on your listing signs in front of your properties so potential buyers could scan the codes to get more information.
If you’re running a convention, you could provide attendees badges with QR codes containing their contact information for other attendees to scan.
You could put a QR code on the back of your business card to give quick access to your website.
Here is a photo of a hotel in Dubai that decided to go all out with its use of QR codes:
Please post a comment if you visit this hotel. I would love to know what a scan of its QR code reveals!
The possibilities are endless which is why the use of QR codes is soaring.
Do I have to buy a scanner?
No, one of the great things about QR codes is that you might already have a scanner in your pocket, your smartphone with a camera. By using a free app, you can use your smartphone to scan a QR code and have the information appear on your smartphone screen.
Which apps work as QR code scanners?
Google, which is free for Android phones and iPhones, works as a QR code scanner. I have tried some other free QR code scanners from the App Store, AT&T Code Scanner and QR Code Reader, but they didn’t work. I also bought the app quiQR for $1.99. What I like about this app is that it scans quickly and it also generates QR codes, such as the QR code above.
How can I test this out?
First, if you have a smartphone, open your Google app. Click on the camera icon in Google and point your phone camera lens at the QR code above. Click on the camera icon on this screen and scan the QR code. Your result should be wonderoftech.com. If you want to try another QR code, scan the QR code on the sidebar to this blog. That will give you a slightly different result.
Having fun? Search QR codes and see how many cool uses of QR codes you can find.
Here’s a group of people having the ultimate fun with QR codes:
The latest and the greatest use of QR Codes is on gravestones: http://thenextweb.com/socialmedia/2011/08/05/qr-codes-on-headstones-in-graveyards-is-it-brilliant-or-creepy/?awesm=tnw.to_1AGTy
Perhaps a QR scanner will soon become your Killer App?
Have you noticed QR codes? Have you ever scanned one? Let us know in the Comments section below!
This article is part of The Wonder of Tech All Star series to satisfy your tech cravings while Carolyn is on vacation. This article is an update of an article that was originally published on The Wonder of Tech on March 1, 2011. You can access the article here if you would like to read the comments on the original version. You can leave comments below and Carolyn will respond after she returns from her vacation on August 20.