The History of QR Codes

The square shaped bar codes known as QR codes that are becoming popular for recreational uses in the United States began with a more formal background in Japan. Before they were being used to lead people to websites, or to show hidden recorded messages by JC Penny, they were telling manufacturers which car parts were what. The Toyota subsidiary known as Denso Wave developed QR codes to meet all of their production needs. They needed a small code that could be scanned quickly and hold a large amount of information. All of this was accomplished by creating a two dimensional code. The code accomplishes all of these goals and more, and because of that it eventually began to spread to other countries.

The code that was developed in Japan is now spread throughout a large portion of the world. It enjoys widespread use in Japan, Korea, and the United Kingdom. In Korea the codes can be found throughout cities and you can even pick out your groceries for the week down in the subway using them. QR codes are also gaining in popularity in the United States. For several years after the codes were first developed the United States wanted nothing to do with them. Smart phones weren’t popular enough yet and the technology to access the codes just wasn’t there. But now that smart phones are more prevalent the barcodes are becoming much more popular. In just a year’s time the codes went from being used by 1 percent of the population up to five percent. Many American businesses or organizations have begun to rely on the revolutionary barcodes to fuel their marketing efforts.

QR codes can be read quickly by a scanner because they have orientation marks that let the scanner know which way to read the code every time, no matter what way the code is turned. Because information is stored both vertically and horizontally within the code a much larger amount of information can be kept than traditional codes in a relatively small location. This allows the codes to be used for a huge number of different items without ever changing the size of the code.

Denso Wave has obtained patent rights for their revolutionary bar code, but they aren’t choosing exercise their rights. They hold patent rights in Japan, the United States, and the United Kingdom. The free availability of the technology is one of the reasons that it is becoming so widespread. Such a revolutionary barcode is changing the way that manufacturers label their items and the way that barcodes work in general. With the codes a phenomenon known as hardlinking can happen. During hardlinking, real everyday objects can lead an individual to a virtual destination. By scanning a magazine page, a product label, or even the back of someone’s head you can be led to a specific website giving you more information.