A quick response to QR and Data Matrix code.

So lately I have been seeing more Data Matrix and QR code around. Data Matrix and QR code is a 2D barcode consisting of black and white "cells" or modules arranged in either a square or rectangular pattern that represent encoded information. Unlike augmented reality markers, data matrix code only represents text or raw data.

Data Matrix (DM) symbols are rectangular in shape and usually square, they are made of cells: little elements that represent bits. Depending on the situation a "light" module is a 0 and a "dark" module is a 1, or vice versa. Every Data Matrix is composed of two solid adjacent borders in an "L" shape (called the "finder pattern") and two other borders consisting of alternating dark and light "cells" or modules (called the "timing pattern"). Within these borders are rows and columns of cells encoding information. The finder pattern is used to locate and orient the symbol while the timing pattern provides a count of the number of rows and columns in the symbol. As more data is encoded in the symbol, the number of cells (rows and columns) will increase. Symbol sizes vary from 8×8 to 144×144. -Wikipedia

People that work on computer hardware and other electronic devices are familiar with seeing DM code on various parts.

Now I see it on advertisements, sidewalks, billboards, business cards, and the most random of places. These codes are great ways of dispersing information quickly. The image to the right is a QR code for the new animated movie 9 coming out soon I found at the Metreon. When scanned it takes you to the website for the movie.

I use QR markers for a variety of things when activate, point, and click is all I want to do to get information. I have a QR code business card that when scanned transfers all my contact information. I post QR Markers on the top left of this blog that hold info or links. As seen in this video below, I have placed QR code markers around the Architecture For Humanity office as part of our mixed reality COLLAB (name of the space) project. Scanning the markers takes the user directly to the website for the related project, sponsor, or tenant.

The markers in the video and in the image to the right, are a form of matrix code called QR (Quick Response) code. QR code was created by Japanese corporation Denso-Wave in 1994 and is very common in Japan where it is currently the most popular type of two dimensional codes. The QR Code format specification is available royalty-free. QR code usually has larger images than DM, can store Japanese characters, but is less secure and easier to hack.

How do I read DM and QR code? All you need is the proper 2D barcode scanner software. Most Japanese mobile devices have 2D barcode readers. I personally have used barcode reader applications on the iPhone and two phones running Google's Android mobile operating system. Some of these apps worked better than others and the ones I used were free to download.

How do I make my own DM or QR code? There are numerous DM/QR generator software and generator websites available. I like the company Kaywa that has online QR code and DM code generators for fast, easy marker code creation.

I expect to see more of these tags out and about. They add that element of "secret decoder ring message" and are a great way of accessing information with the touch of a button.


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