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#1 2023-11-18 22:12:55

Jai Ganesh
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Registered: 2005-06-28
Posts: 45,486

QR Code

QR Code

Gist

A quick response (QR) code is a type of barcode that can be read easily by a digital device and which stores information as a series of pixels in a square-shaped grid. QR codes are frequently used to track information about products in a supply chain and often used in marketing and advertising campaigns.

QR codes are considered an advancement from older, uni-dimensional barcodes, and were approved as an international standard in 2000 by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

Details

A QR code (quick-response code) is a type of two-dimensional matrix barcode, invented in 1994, by Japanese company Denso Wave for labelling automobile parts. A QR code consists of black squares arranged in a square grid on a white background, including some fiducial markers, which can be read by an imaging device, such as a camera, and processed using Reed–Solomon error correction until the image can be appropriately interpreted. The required data are then extracted from patterns that are present in both the horizontal and the vertical components of the QR image.

Whereas a barcode is a machine-readable optical image that contains information specific to the labelled item, the QR code contains the data for a locator, an identifier, and for web-tracking. To efficiently store data, QR codes use four standardized modes of encoding: (i) numeric, (ii) alphanumeric, (iii) byte or binary, and (iv) kanji. Compared to standard UPC barcodes, the QR labelling system was applied beyond the automobile industry because of faster reading of the optical image and greater data-storage capacity in applications such as product tracking, item identification, time tracking, document management, and general marketing.

History
   
The QR code system was invented in 1994, at the Denso Wave automotive products company, in Japan. The initial alternating-square design presented by the team of researchers, headed by Masahiro Hara, was influenced by the black counters and the white counters played on a Go board; the pattern of position detection was found and determined by applying the least-used ratio (1:1:3:1:1) in black and white areas on printed matter, which cannot be misidentified by an optical scanner. The functional purpose of the QR code system was to facilitate keeping track of the types and numbers of automobile parts, by replacing individually-scanned bar-code labels on each box of auto parts with a single label that contained the data of each label. The quadrangular configuration of the QR code system consolidated the data of the various bar-code labels with Kanji, Kana, and alphanumeric codes that were printed onto single label.

Adoption

As of 2023, QR codes are used in a much broader context, including both commercial tracking applications and convenience-oriented applications aimed at mobile-phone users (termed mobile tagging). QR codes may be used to display text to the user, to open a webpage on the user's device, to add a vCard contact to the user's device, to open a Uniform Resource Identifier (URI), to connect to a wireless network, or to compose an email or text message. There are a great many QR code generators available as software or as online tools that are either free, or require a paid subscription. The QR code has become one of the most-used types of two-dimensional code.

During the month of June 2011, 14 million American mobile users scanned a QR code or a barcode. Some 58% of those users scanned a QR or barcode from their homes, while 39% scanned from retail stores; 53% of the 14 million users were men between the ages of 18 and 34.

In September 2020, a survey found that 18.8 percent of consumers in the United States and United Kingdom strongly agreed that they had noticed an increase of QR code use since the then-active COVID-19 related restrictions had begun several months prior.

Standards

There are several standards that cover the encoding of data as QR codes:

October 1997 – AIM (Association for Automatic Identification and Mobility) International
January 1999 – JIS X 0510
June 2000 – ISO/IEC 18004:2000 Information technology – Automatic identification and data capture techniques – Bar code symbology – QR code (now withdrawn)
Defines QR code models 1 and 2 symbols.
1 September 2006 – ISO/IEC 18004:2006 Information technology – Automatic identification and data capture techniques – QR Code 2005 bar code symbology specification (now withdrawn)
Defines QR code 2005 symbols, an extension of QR code model 2. Does not specify how to read QR code model 1 symbols, or require this for compliance.
1 February 2015 – ISO/IEC 18004:2015 Information – Automatic identification and data capture techniques – QR Code barcode symbology specification
Renames the QR Code 2005 symbol to QR Code and adds clarification to some procedures and minor corrections.
May 2022 – ISO/IEC 23941:2022 Information technology – Automatic identification and data capture techniques – Rectangular Micro QR Code (rMQR) bar code symbology specification.
Defines the requirements for Micro QR Code.

At the application layer, there is some variation between most of the implementations. Japan's NTT DoCoMo has established de facto standards for the encoding of URLs, contact information, and several other data types. The open-source "ZXing" project maintains a list of QR code data types.

Uses

QR codes have become common in consumer advertising. Typically, a smartphone is used as a QR code scanner, displaying the code and converting it to some useful form (such as a standard URL for a website, thereby obviating the need for a user to type it into a web browser). QR code has become a focus of advertising strategy, since it provides a way to access a brand's website more quickly than by manually entering a URL. Beyond mere convenience to the consumer, the importance of this capability is that it increases the conversion rate: the chance that contact with the advertisement will convert to a sale. It coaxes interested prospects further down the conversion funnel with little delay or effort, bringing the viewer to the advertiser's website immediately, whereas a longer and more targeted sales pitch may lose the viewer's interest.

Although initially used to track parts in vehicle manufacturing, QR codes are used over a much wider range of applications. These include commercial tracking, warehouse stock control, entertainment and transport ticketing, product and loyalty marketing and in-store product labeling.[citation needed] Examples of marketing include where a company's discounted and percent discount can be captured using a QR code decoder that is a mobile app, or storing a company's information such as address and related information alongside its alpha-numeric text data as can be seen in Yellow Pages directories.

They can also be used in storing personal information for use by organizations. An example of this is Philippines National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) where NBI clearances now come with a QR code. Many of these applications target mobile-phone users (via mobile tagging). Users may receive text, add a vCard contact to their device, open a URL, or compose an e-mail or text message after scanning QR codes. They can generate and print their own QR codes for others to scan and use by visiting one of several pay or free QR code-generating sites or apps. Google had an API, now deprecated, to generate QR codes, and apps for scanning QR codes can be found on nearly all smartphone devices.

QR codes storing addresses and URLs may appear in magazines, on signs, on buses, on business cards, or on almost any object about which users might want 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 termed hardlinking or object hyperlinking. QR codes also may be linked to a location to track where a code has been scanned. Either the application that scans the QR code retrieves the geo information by using GPS and cell tower triangulation (aGPS) or the URL encoded in the QR code itself is associated with a location. In 2008, a Japanese stonemason announced plans to engrave QR codes on gravestones, allowing visitors to view information about the deceased, and family members to keep track of visits. Psychologist Richard Wiseman was one of the first authors to include QR codes in a book, in Paranormality: Why We See What Isn't There (2011). Microsoft Office and LibreOffice have a functionality to insert QR code into documents.

QR codes have been incorporated into currency. In June 2011, The Royal Dutch Mint (Koninklijke Nederlandse Munt) issued the world's first official coin with a QR code to celebrate the centenary of its current building and premises. The coin can be scanned by a smartphone and originally linked to a special website with contents about the historical event and design of the coin. In 2014, the Central Bank of Nigeria issued a 100-naira banknote to commemorate its centennial, the first banknote to incorporate a QR code in its design. When scanned with an internet-enabled mobile device, the code goes to a website that tells the centenary story of Nigeria.

In 2015, the Central Bank of the Russian Federation issued a 100-rubles note to commemorate the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation. It contains a QR code into its design, and when scanned with an internet-enabled mobile device, the code goes to a website that details the historical and technical background of the commemorative note. In 2017, the Bank of Ghana issued a 5-cedis banknote to commemorate 60 years of Central Banking in Ghana, and contains a QR code in its design, which when scanned with an internet-enabled mobile device, that code goes to the official Bank of Ghana website.

Credit card functionality is under development. In September 2016, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) launched the eponymously named Bharat QR, a common QR code jointly developed by all the four major card payment companies – National Payments Corporation of India that runs RuPay cards along with MasterCard, Visa and American Express. It will also have the capability of accepting payments on the unified payments interface (UPI) platform.

Augmented reality

QR codes are used in some augmented reality systems to determine the positions of objects in 3-dimensional space.

Mobile operating systems

QR codes can be used on various mobile device operating systems. Both Android and iOS devices can natively scan QR codes without downloading an external app. The camera app is able to scan and display the kind of QR code along with the link . These devices support URL redirection, which allows QR codes to send metadata to existing applications on the device. Many free apps are available with the ability to scan the codes and hard-link to an external URL.

Virtual stores

QR codes have been used to establish "virtual stores", where a gallery of product information and QR codes is presented to the customer, e.g. on a train station wall. The customers scan the QR codes, and the products are delivered to their homes. This use started in South Korea, and Argentina, but is currently expanding globally. Walmart, Procter & Gamble and Woolworths have already adopted the Virtual Store concept.

QR code payment

QR codes can be used to store bank account information or credit card information, or they can be specifically designed to work with particular payment provider applications. There are several trial applications of QR code payments across the world. In developing countries including China, India and Bangladesh QR code payment is a very popular and convenient method of making payments. Since Alipay designed a QR code payment method in 2011, mobile payment has been quickly adopted in China. As of 2018, around 83% of all payments were made via mobile payment.

In November 2012, QR code payments were deployed on a larger scale in the Czech Republic when an open format for payment information exchange – a Short Payment Descriptor – was introduced and endorsed by the Czech Banking Association as the official local solution for QR payments. In 2013, the European Payment Council provided guidelines for the EPC QR code enabling SCT initiation within the Eurozone.

In 2017, Singapore created a taskforce including government agencies such as the Monetary Authority of Singapore and Infocomm Media Development Authority to spearhead a system for e-payments using standardized QR code specifications. These specific dimensions are specialized for Singapore.

The e-payment system, Singapore Quick Response Code (SGQR), essentially merges various QR codes into one label that can be used by both parties in the payment system. This allows for various banking apps to facilitate payments between multiple customers and a merchant that displays the single QR code. The SGQR scheme is co-owned by MAS and IMDA. A single SDQR label contains e-payments and combines multiple payment options. People making purchases can scan the code and see which payment options the merchant accepts.

Website login

QR codes can be used to log into websites: a QR code is shown on the login page on a computer screen, and when a registered user scans it with a verified smartphone, they will automatically be logged in. Authentication is performed by the smartphone, which contacts the server. Google developed this in 2012.

Mobile ticket

There is a system whereby a QR code can be displayed on a device such as a smartphone and used as an admission ticket. Its use is common for J1 League and Nippon Professional Baseball tickets in Japan. In some cases, rights can be transferred via the Internet. In Latvia, QR codes can be scanned in Riga public transport to validate Rīgas Satiksme e-tickets.

Restaurant ordering

Restaurants can present a QR code near the front door or at the table allowing guests to view an online menu, or even redirect them to an online ordering website or app, allowing them to order and/or possibly pay for their meal without having to use a cashier or waiter. QR codes can also link to daily or weekly specials that are not printed on the standardized menus, and enable the establishment to update the entire menu without needing to print copies. At table-serve restaurants, QR codes enable guests to order and pay for their meals without a waiter involved – the QR code contains the table number so servers know where to bring the food. This application has grown especially since the need for social distancing during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic prompted reduced contact between service staff and customers.

Joining a Wi‑Fi network

By specifying the SSID, encryption type, password/passphrase, and if the SSID is hidden or not, mobile device users can quickly scan and join networks without having to manually enter the data. A MeCard-like format is supported by Android and iOS 11+.

* Common format: WIFI:S:<SSID>;T:<WEP|WPA|nopass>;P:<PASSWORD>;H:<true|false|blank>;;
* Sample: WIFI:S:MySSID;T:WPA;P:MyPassW0rd;;

Funerary use

A QR code can link to an obituary and can be placed on a headstone. In 2008, Ishinokoe in Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan began to sell tombstones with QR codes produced by IT DeSign, where the code leads to a virtual grave site of the deceased. Other companies, such as Wisconsin-based Interactive Headstones, have also begun implementing QR codes into tombstones. In 2014, the Jewish Cemetery of La Paz in Uruguay began implementing QR codes for tombstones.

Electronic authentication

QR codes can be used to generate time-based one-time passwords (TOTP) for electronic authentication.

Loyalty programs

QR codes have been used by various retail outlets that have loyalty programs. Sometimes these programs are accessed with an app that is loaded onto a phone and includes a process triggered by a QR code scan. The QR codes for loyalty programs tend to be found printed on the receipt for a purchase or on the products themselves. Users in these schemes collect award points by scanning a code.

Counterfeit detection

Serialised QR codes have been used by brands and governments to let consumers, retailers and distributors verify the authenticity of the products and help with detecting counterfeit products, as part of a brand protection program. However, the security level of a regular QR code is limited since QR codes printed on original products are easily reproduced on fake products, even though the analysis of data generated as a result of QR code scanning can be used to detect counterfeiting and illicit activity. A higher security level can be attained by embedding a digital watermark or copy detection pattern into the image of the QR code. This makes the QR code more secure against counterfeiting attempts; products that display a code which is counterfeit, although valid as a QR code, can be detected by scanning the secure QR code with the appropriate app.

The treaty regulating apostilles (documents bearing a seal of authenticity), has been updated to allow the issuance of digital apostilles by countries; a digital apostille is a PDF document with a cryptographic signature containing a QR code for a canonical URL of the original document, allowing users to verify the apostille from a printed version of the document.

Product tracing

Different studies have been made to assess the effectiveness of QR codes as a means of conveying labelling information and their use as part of a food traceability system. In a field experiment, it was found that when provided free access to a smartphone with QR code scanning app, 52.6% of participants would use it to access labelling information. A study made in South Korea showed that consumers appreciate QR code used in food traceability system, as they provide detailed information about food, as well as information that helps them in their purchasing decision. If QR codes are serialised, consumers can access a web page showing the supply chain for each ingredient, as well as information specific to each related batch, including meat processors and manufacturers, which helps address the concerns they have about the origin of their food.

COVID-19 pandemic

After the COVID-19 pandemic began spreading, QR codes began to be used as a "touchless" system to display information, show menus, or provide updated consumer information, especially in the hospitality industry. Restaurants replaced paper or laminated plastic menus with QR code decals on the table, which opened an online version of the menu. This prevented the need to dispose of single-use paper menus, or institute cleaning and sanitizing procedures for permanent menus after each use. Local television stations have also begun to utilize codes on local newscasts to allow viewers quicker access to stories or information involving the pandemic, including testing and immunization scheduling websites, or for links within stories mentioned in the newscasts overall.

In several Australian states, patrons were required to scan QR codes at shops, clubs, supermarkets and other service and retail establishments on entry to assist contact tracing. Singapore, Taiwan, the United Kingdom and New Zealand used similar systems.

QR codes are also present on COVID-19 vaccination certificates in places such as Canada and the EU (EU Digital COVID certificate), where they can be scanned to verify the information on the certificate.

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