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What is QR code?

Give me a Quick Response! What is a QR code? Is it a code that is capable of storing data? Is it something you scan to go from one place to another? or is it simply a two-dimensional version of a barcode, which is able to show a wide variety of information with a simple scan? Give me a drum roll please…..the answer is, all of them.

The proper definition of a QR code or a quick response code is that it is a small two-dimensional code which stores data in a series of pixels within a square-shaped grid. These codes are typically read through digital devices and are a convenient way of going from one place to another with a simple scan.

Graphics by Darrab Qureshi

When was a QR code invented?

Now that we know what a QR code is, let's dive into who invented it. The first QR code system was invented by a Japanese company named Denso Wave in 1994. It was essentially used as an accurate way of tracking vehicles and parts during their manufacturing process. This type of barcode technology was revolutionary and only grew from here. However, in 2002 QR codes began to gain more popularity in Japan as they were not only convenient but also accurate.

What Are They Used?

Have you ever tried a QR code before? What did you think of it? Did you like it? Unlike standard barcodes which we can only read from the top to the bottom and which only store a small amount of information. A QR code is read from top to bottom and from left to right and can store a significantly larger amount of data. The data stored within a QR code can include but aren’t limited to website URLs, phone numbers, and even a significant amount of text. Other common uses include, a link to download an app, authentication of online accounts or verification of login, sending money, receiving money and much much more.

How to Use a QR Code?

With QR codes beginning to become more mainstream, the idea of how to actually properly use one comes into question. It is actually quite simple to use one; most smartphones nowadays actually have a built-in system within its camera which can scan these codes. However, if your device does not have this a QR scanner can be downloaded onto your mobile devices through the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. Once you have an app, or your camera out it's as easy as pointing your device into that direction and clicking the link, which will instantly pop up on your screen. There you go you have successfully used a QR code!


QR codes are becoming more and more popular as their efficiency is being recognized. I mean who knows, soon QR codes could be used for almost anything.

Fun Fact: Did you know there is a 42-feet-wide QR code painted onto the roof of Facebook’s California headquarters. It was created as a part of Mark Zuckerberg’s “Space Hackathon” in 2012 and links to Facebook’s QR page.

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