I’ve been doing a lot of reading about QR Codes lately. Here’s an example:
QR codes are 2-dimensional bar codes. This particular QR code contains the kind of contact information you might see on my business card. What I find neat about them is that they’re intended to be used with smart phones. Here’s an experiment I tried a few times the other day: load an app like QR app on your iPhone. Launch the app, and point it at a computer screen with a QR code on it. The phone photographs the bar code, decodes it, recognizes that it contains contact information, and offers to store the contact in your phone’s contact list.
I’ve just come back from the Infoway Partnership conference, and as with so many other conferences, I now have a stack of business cards that I collected. I seldom get around to transcribing business cards into my contact list — but if those cards had a QR code on them, I could just point my phone at them, and read them in automagically. It’s like highly-precise OCR for small data sets.
Or think about all the quaint shops along Queen St. If you like a particular store, and want to remember to come back some other time, you might take their business card. If they had a QR code beside the cash register, you don’t even need a business card. Just scan it with your phone. If the QR code included hours of operation, so much the better. (I wonder how long before we start seeing QR codes in the booths of art and craft shows?)
Most of the reading that I’m doing suggest that we’re about to see a flurry of advertising material that includes some form of 2D bar code. The idea is pretty neat (although I generally think that I have far more advertising in my life than I want); if I see an ad for some product or service that interests me, I can point my phone at the bar code, and save the information immediately. Last night, while coming home from a restaurant, I noticed an ad on of those bus shelters that included a 2D bar code (that one was a ScanLife/EZCode code).
Obviously, I’m pondering this in the context of e-Health applications. Would it be useful to have a QR code on my prescription, so I can track my medications? Or maybe the doctor’s office can give me a QR-coded-prescription to make it easier for the pharmacist to add the information to pharmacy system? It’s an interesting thought.
The name, “QR Code”, is a registered trademark of Denso Wave Inc., in several jurisdiction (but not Canada, it seems).