A QR code (abbreviated from Quick Response code) is a specific matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code) that is readable by dedicated QR barcode readers and camera telephones. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. The information encoded may be text, URL, or other data.
Common in Japan, where it was created by Toyota subsidiary Denso-Wave in 1994, the QR code is one of the most popular types of two-dimensional barcodes. The QR code was designed to allow its contents to be decoded at high speed.
The technology has seen frequent use in Japan, the Netherlands, and South Korea, while the rest of the world has been slower in the adoption of QR codes.Although initially used for tracking parts in vehicle manufacturing, QR codes now are used in a much broader context, including both commercial tracking applications and convenience-oriented applications aimed at mobile phone users (termed mobile tagging). QR codes may be used to display text to the user, to add a vCard contact to the user’s device, to open a Uniform Resource Identifier (URI), or to compose an e-mail or text message. Users can generate and print their own QR codes for others to scan and use by visiting one of several paid and free QR code generating sites or apps.
QR codes storing addresses and Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) may appear in magazines, on signs, buses, business cards, or almost any object about which users might need information. Users with a camera phone equipped with the correct reader application can scan the image of the QR code to display text, contact information, connect to a wireless network, or open a web page in the telephone’s browser. This act of linking from physical world objects is termed hardlinking or object hyperlinking.
QR codes can be utilized in Google’s mobile Android operating system via both their own Google Goggles application or 3rd party barcode scanners like ZXing or Kaywa. The browser supports URI redirection, which allows QR codes to send metadata to existing applications on the device. Nokia’s Symbian operating system is provided with a barcode scanner, which is able to read QR codes, while mbarcode is a QR code reader for the Maemo operating system. In the Apple iOS, a QR code reader is not natively included, but more than fifty paid and free apps are available with reader and metadata browser URI redirection ability. With BlackBerry devices, the App World application can natively scan QR codes and load any recognized Web URLs on the device’s Web browser.
Custom qr codes are now beginning to emerge whereby brands are able to add their logos and designs with the traditional qr code.
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