I keep a long and ever-growing outline of blog topics I may someday write about. Most aren’t fully formed, but each at least once struck me as interesting at some point or another, so I figured they’re worth keeping around.1 (See one real example to right.)
- <3 qr-codes
- bridges the physical and the cyber
- low-tech, lowest-common denominator
- cameraphones in every pocket
- makes a lot more sense than competing technologies, like that microsoft one with the different colors that requires color printing, etc. this one I could, if so inclined, draw with a pencil
- sadly, most of what I use this technology for is curiously decoding barcodes I come across on the web
I add topics to my list pretty regularly, but what doesn’t happen very regularly is someone reading my mind and writing my post for me. Okay, it’s only happened once: about a week ago, and it was geeking out on QR Codes.
I’m a bit behind on my RSS reading, but when I just came across this boingboing post, I was quite pleased. In it, guest blogger Glenn Fleishman pretty much lays out the case for 2D barcodes — QR being the most popular, good/open-enough format — as a useful sort of link between the physical world and the digital one. It’s an idea I happen to have loved for a few years now, and with Internet-enabled cameraphones all over the place, one that has the potential2 to create some benefit to society on a large scale.
It should come as little surprise, then, that for as long as I’ve been aware of these codes, I’ve longed to find a use for the technology aside from the mundane let people scan your ad to go to your website, or send a URL from your computer to your phone. A handful of boingboing commenters pointed out a few real-world examples of ways they have used QR codes: labeling shared lab equipment or getting on the VIP list at Tokyo clubs. Interesting they are; world-changing they’re not.
Of course, there’s also the idea of providing richer information about wine than a simple bottle label could display, which I find a step above the others, and giving extra context to museum art, which I think gets us even closer.
Yet I still think QR Codes have even greater potential… but potential isn’t even half the battle.
- Yes, they’re basically brain crack.[↩]
- Naturally, the barrier to adoption is convincing the average person to bother solving for themselves a problem — easy URL/text/contact entry on their phone — they didn’t realize they had.[↩]