Wednesday, June 22, 2011

IC25: Scan This!

They're popping up everywhere.  I saw them on my cup from a fast food restaurant, I see them in ads, on the cover of my phone book, even on signs at the zoo and a concert.  What are they?  QRCodes!

I'm a little behind technology wise, right before we went on vacation, I got an app for them.  Unfortunately, my beloved Centro is getting to be old technology, so I could only find one app and it worked fine the first few times then refused to recognize the codes, furthermore, it messed up my camera app, so I've unfortunately had to remove it.  (just one more pro in favor of an upgrade!)

I haven't done too much with QR Codes until this round of The Iron Craft Challenge.  But the inner geek in me, was intrigued.  It turns out that to allow a lot of devices to read these codes, there is a lot of redundancy and error checking built in.  What does that mean?  It means that some people have started to exploit that by doing custom QR Codes that incorporate an image, or a style to help convey their message.  So I decided to give it a try.

I started with QRStuff.com and generated a QR Code that just has text (it turns out there are different types of information that a QR Code can contain, in addition to just URLs).

qrcode.799779

This code has the text of John 3:16.

Then, I decided to modify it a bit and changed it to have a cross:

qrcode.revised2
Due to the redundancy in the codes, you can change them some without breaking them for most QR Readers.  Now, the software tester in me kicks in here and wants to point out that they're no longer up to the 'spec' for a QR Code so it's very possible that there are readers out there that will not scan them correctly.  But what's the fun in that?

Now that I've got the code, what should I do with it?

It'd be cool on a T-shirt, even just on a piece of card stock.  It's an interesting outreach method.  As a geek, I'd scan it to at least see if it's a valid code.  Some websites are selling QR Code temporary tattoos for people to use to exchange info at trade shows.  (It'd be an interesting twist on the kid tattoos for contact info too)

I decided to follow the directions here and transfer it to a piece of wood to make a necklace.  Can you say fail? LOL

IC25: Fail

Next time, I'll try to paint the wood first that will hopefully make it more distinguishable and will keep the ink from soaking into the wood so much.

So, I was back to what to do with the code after I made it. I originally was going to try to print it on shrink plastic but wasn't sure it would still be scanable afterwards. So I thought I'd try it. I tried to print on a small piece of shrink plastic I had left from another project. Fail again! My printer jammed LOL.

By this point I had a number of the codes printed out in various sizes, so I decided to just frame one.

IC25: Scan this

I've got a smaller version that I printed out that I'll probably attach to the wood with modge podge to make necklace.

Can you think of other creative uses for QR Codes?

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