The thing about QR codes…

qrcode QR codes have been making a bit of noise in the local web/social media/design nerd for the past few months. Thanks in large part to Winnipeg’s sociallyist  blogger Erica Glasier.

For months now, my geek sensibilities have been nagging me about these futuristic looking pixel blocks. I’ve had some trouble narrowing down exactly what it is. It’s not the poor implementation that is so rampant (pro tip: they do not need to be black-on-white or isolated from your design); it’s not the fact that the average person is too lazy to figure out what a QR code is and how to use it. These are minor roadblocks for a technology that is actually fairly useful.

This morning on my bus ride in to work, it finally dawned on me.

QR codes are an out-dated placeholder technology. A technology designed for devices which are not powerful enough to do proper image recognition (quickly and reliably). In reality, we have already surpassed this technological limitation.

Take a look at this Aursuma. It’s essentially able to turn any print media into a rich-media presentation via an iPhone app (without the use of a machine-readable marker):

I cannot see any reason similar image recognition technology couldn’t be used for the simpler applications we currently user QR codes for.

Am I missing something?

2 replies on “The thing about QR codes…”

You’re right, QR codes are an arbitrary standardized format for machine readability.  The technology’s success will depend entirely on adoption and app convenience.  Many mainstream folk still have no idea what they are for.

Isn’t it kind of like saying Morse code or braille or Semaphore or sign language or English are “out of date placeholder technology”? They may be, but they’re codes that work. Why overcomplicate?

They ARE a workaround…a brilliant workaround 🙂 You can build one out of rocks or waffles. There’s something to be said for good ole’ binary on/off information 🙂

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