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IT
  30 June 2024

What is qr code and how does it work?

IT
  30 June 2024

What is qr code and how does it work?

What is a QR Code?

QR codes are simply two-dimensional barcodes that encode diverse information, ranging from URLs and text to contact details and other types of data.

Structure wise QR codes consist of a square grid that can hold a large amount of data. The grid is made up of black squares on a white background (dark and light), which together form a unique pattern. QR codes come in different versions,

Usage of QR codes
Figure 01. Daily QR code usage examples. a) Scan to start a chat. b) renting a bike. c) Searching a restaurant menu. d) paying a bill.
  • Version 1 with a 21×21 matrix

  • Version 40 with a 177×177 matrix,

 

allowing for varying amounts of data to be encoded.

For instance, Version 1 QR codes have a 21×21 matrix, which can store up to 25 alphanumeric characters. In contrast, Version 40 QR codes feature a 177×177 matrix, capable of storing up to 4,296 alphanumeric characters or 2,953 bytes of binary data.

evolution of QR code from version 01 to version 40.
Figure 02: Evolution of QR codes from version 1 to version 40

This significant increase in data capacity allows Version 40 QR codes to encode detailed information, such as lengthy URLs, extensive text, or large chunks of binary data, making them suitable for more complex applications as shown in Figure 01.

How to generate a QR code one for you? easy free online tool.

You can use etoolsbuddy QR Code Generator for this. Or go to google or another search engine and search for “etoolsbuddy free qr generator”.   This process involves converting information such as text, URLs, or other data into a QR code format. This online free tool will do that for you.

You just need to input your data [URL, your virtual business card, email or contact details, or download link] to the tool, then download the QR code by clicking download button.

How Do the QR Codes Work?

QR Code Structure

  • Matrix design: A QR code is composed of black squares arranged on a white background, forming a square grid.

  • Positional markers: These markers help devices identify and correctly align the QR code for scanning. Part of the positional markers, they assist in identifying the QR code’s position.

  • Alignment patterns: Smaller squares that help scanners determine the QR code’s precise angle and position, especially important for larger QR codes.

  • Timing patterns: A line of alternating black and white squares that runs across the QR code, providing a reference for the size and scale.

  • Quiet zone: A margin of white space around the QR code. This empty white border around the QR code that separates it from other visual elements, ensuring the code can be read correctly.

  • Data region: In this area consists of encoded actual information in a pattern of black and white squares.

  • Format information: Specifies the version and error correction level.

  • Version information: For QR codes version 7 and higher, this provides specifics about the QR code’s version, up to version 40.

Parts of the QR code.
Figure 03: Main feature items of a QR code.

Then you or your customer or recipient need to scan the QR code depending on the device,

  • iOS Devices: Open the camera app and point it at the QR code to automatically scan.

  • Android Devices: Open the camera app or a dedicated QR code scanner app and point it at the QR code.

  • Windows Devices: Use the built-in camera app or a third-party QR code scanner app to scan the code.

When you scan the QR code with a device, the scanner reads these patterns to interpret the encoded information. Then starts decoding phase of the encoded Information. In this phase special algorithms analyze the pattern of black and white squares. Then, the original data is extracted from the QR code.

What are the differences between QR Codes and Barcodes?

QR code, Bar code
Figure 04: QR code vs a classic Barcode.
Feature QR CodesBarcodes
Design Square, two-dimensionalLinear, one-dimensional
Data capacity High, diverse data typesLower, typically numeric
Applications Marketing, labeling, ticketing

Inventory, retail

Scanning technology Camera-based

Laser/LED-based

Error correction Built-in error correctionLimited error correction
Versatility Highly versatileSpecialized

Then you or your customer or recipient need to scan the QR code depending on the device,

When you scan the QR code with a device, the scanner reads these patterns to interpret the encoded information. Then starts decoding phase of the encoded Information. In this phase special algorithms analyze the pattern of black and white squares. Then, the original data is extracted from the QR code.

Future Trends in QR Code Technology.

Future trends in QR code technology include enhanced security features that will improve safety for sensitive transactions, and integration with augmented reality (AR) to create interactive experiences.

Blockchain integration will add authentication layers, boosting trust in QR code transactions. The use of QR codes for contactless payments and digital wallets will become more prevalent, and their integration with wearable technology will increase accessibility.

IoT connectivity will link QR codes with smart devices, while advanced data encoding techniques will enhance efficiency and capacity. Global standards and interoperability will ensure seamless functionality across platforms and regions, and the incorporation of QR codes into everyday objects will make them a ubiquitous part of daily life.


Tags:
  • Alignment patterns
  • Bar code
  • Data region
  • Format information
  • Future trends in QR code technology
  • Positional markers
  • QR code
  • Quiet zone
  • science
  • technology
  • Timing patterns
  • Version information

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