QR codes have become that acquaintance that everyone has. They look vaguely familiar, you know you've seen them before, but you don't want to admit that you don't know them and cause undue embarrassment.
Never fear. I embarrassed myself to save you all.
With little to no knowledge of QR codes (which is the shortened version of Quick Response Code), I embarked on some research. Apparently QR codes have been around since the early 90s. They were developed in Japan for use within the automotive industry. A QR code, which holds more information than a traditional barcode, was used to follow a car all the way through the manufacturing process. QR codes stayed a little known gem until the onset of camera phones and subsequent smart phones. Now, those handy little codes have become the dreams that marketing campaigns are made of.
But there's so much more to QR codes than just using them for websites. In Japan, where QR code is unparalleled, companies use them to store lots of information in a small amount of space. QR codes are used to hold nutritional information on food packaging, provide information about a store, and even add an extra layer of security to passports. And it's not just in Japan, QR codes are showing up everywhere - who else took part in the scavenger hunt this year at ALC?
I know, this is all really interesting, but how does information get stored on a QR code? Excellent question. There are forty different versions of QR codes and each one has a different module configuration or a number of modules. Which version you use depends on how much information you need to store. Don't panic! You don't need to figure this out yourself, a QR generator will do the hard work for you (I recommend QR stuff at http://www.qrstuff.com/) . A QR generator takes your URL, text, or even a telephone number, and reduces it to a pattern formation within a set structure. It works the same way that scanning a barcode on a book produces a number in your ILS. Your code reader does all the work for you.
The potential use for QR codes is limitless. You just need to get out there and test the waters. I've included a few examples of QR codes below. Can you figure out what they say?