QR Codes: Where and How to Use Them?

November 26, 2010 in General, Technical by Youssef Kassab

chart-qr-youssef-kassabBar codes have become widely popular because of their reading speed, accuracy, and superior functionality characteristics. 2D Code emerged in response to the need of storing more information, more character types, and that could be printed in a smaller space.

The QR code is a matrix two dimensional barcode. It carries meaningful information in the both vertical and horizontal directions. It can carry up to several hundred times the amount of data carried by an ordinary bar code.

QR is the abbreviation for Quick Response, as the creator intended the code to allow its contents to be decoded at high speed.

The QR code is readable by QR scanners, mobile phones with a camera, and smartphones. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on white background. The information encoded can be text, URL or other data.

QR Codes can be used to display text to the user, to add a vCard contact to the user’s device, to open a URI or to compose a text message or email.

QR Codes storing addresses and URLs may appear in magazines, on signs, business cards, or on just about 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 phone’s browser. This act of linking from physical world objects is known as a hardlink or physical world hyperlinks.

Google’s mobile Android operating system supports the use of QR codes by natively including the barcode scanner (ZXing) on some models. Nokia’s Symbian operating system is also 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 is not natively included, but some iTunes Apps, for free, are available with reader and metadata browser URI redirection.


QR Code is capable of handling all types of data, such as numeric and alphabetic characters. Up to 7,089 characters can be encoded in one symbol. QR Code has error correction capability. Data can be restored even if the symbol is partially dirty or damaged. A maximum 30% of codewords can be restored. QR Code is capable of 360 degree (omni-directional), high speed reading. QR Code accomplishes this task through position detection patterns located at the three corners of the symbol. These position detection patterns guarantee stable high-speed reading, circumventing the negative effects of background interference.

Code Generation

QR Code is generated with QR Code creation software and a special printer. In order to generate a properly readable QR code for the intended reader, the size (area) of QR Code is important. The use of the QR Code is free of any license. Below is an API by google that will let you create a QR code for a certain URL: http://chart.apis.google.com/chart?chs=150×150&cht=qr&chl=http://blog.berytech.org

Businesses can benefit from the QR codes in their marketing efforts, would you use it for your business?