Friday, June 24, 2011

Fun with QR Codes

It's been rainy and wet out, so after walking around in the rain a bit, I decided to come in and play around with some technology.

My friend just got back from New York City, and mentioned that the prevalence of QR codes has recently increased drastically.  These codes, in the form of squares embedded with a variety of large pixels, can be used to encode URLs, text, and other information.  They are most often used for marketing but are occasionally being used for outreach as well.  The larger scale potential for use of QR codes is huge, although I think for the time being they will continue to mainly be used in marketing and advertising.  I am thinking of putting up some QR codes for some of the urban hydrology features in Burlington after UVM fills with students again next fall, to see if anyone scans them.

I remembered reading somewhere that QR codes are not color sensitive.  So, I decided to fiddle with the QR code a bit and see how much I could change it while retaining the link.

Here's the initial Slow Water Movement QR code:

Slow Water 1

I tried adding a bit of color... and it still worked.

Slow Water 2

Next, I tried moving a few of the pixels to create letters.  Oddly, this still scans to the Slow Water Movement site:

Slow Water 3

Then I tried adding color to this version, including some subtle colors in the background:

Slow Water 4

I tried one more with more exaggerated colors, but it didn't work.  This last one was the most modified one I was able to create that still linked to this blog.

Does it work on your phone?  It may be that different phones have differing abilities to read QR codes.  I have an Iphone 4.

Based on the wikipedia article I linked above, I am far from the first person to come up with this idea.  Different forms of QR codes have been embedded in a wide variety of artistic endeavors.

Anyone else want to try making a fancy new Slow Water Movement QR code?  Give it a try and if it works, I'll post it here too.

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