What is a QR code?

The QR code, also known as a two-dimensional barcode, represents a more advanced form of barcode technology compared to its one-dimensional counterpart. While one-dimensional barcodes can only encode information linearly, typically horizontally, QR codes have the capacity to store data both horizontally and vertically. One-dimensional barcodes are limited to numerical and alphabetical characters, whereas QR codes can accommodate a broader range of data, including Chinese characters, numbers, and even images. Offering a larger storage capacity, stronger resilience, higher reliability, enhanced security, and anti-counterfeiting capabilities, QR codes find application across a wider array of fields.

The QR code operates on the principle of arranging specific geometric patterns according to a set algorithm on a two-dimensional plane to record symbolic data. When a user scans a QR code with a reader device, the device recognizes these patterns and converts them into binary data, which is then decoded to extract the embedded information.

Leveraging their substantial data-carrying capacity, QR codes can include information that was previously stored in backend databases and accessed via one-dimensional barcodes. This allows for the direct retrieval of pertinent information simply by scanning the code. Additionally, QR codes incorporate error correction and anti-counterfeiting technologies, thereby enhancing data security.

The most prevalent form of the QR code is the Quick Response Code, a term that denotes its ability to be swiftly decoded. This particular type of two-dimensional barcode was developed by Masahiro Hara, an engineer at Denso Wave, in 1994. Initially intended for marking various components in logistics to create more efficient processes, the QR code's rapid decodability has led to its widespread adoption.

Today, as a novel technology for storing and transmitting information, the QR code is poised to serve as a bridge connecting the online and offline worlds.