A few days ago I received an email from a friend who, playing tricks a joke (and I saw him), said nothing … but had a picture attached … I could not understand that as soon as I opened it.
It took a few hours, and I realized what it was that image … one QR code , which I have been known sounded a software for my mobile, but the truth … never used.
The idea of this article is to introduce in this of the QR codes , explaining why they were created from, who created it, but I also like to dwell on things like their chances of future use … how to read and generate, among other things.
What are QR codes?
A QR code , short for Quick Response (Quick Response) is a dot matrix containing information encoded in it.
A close comparison would be to think of a bar code, but this is read differently, try encrypt data between your bars (horizontally), so that from a machine (or a person who understands how it works) can get information easily ( easier if a machine, of course).
Unlike bar codes, the QR code can not be read by a human mind, unless it is too bright …, since the information is stored in two dimensions (horizontal and vertical).
Japan is currently one of the countries with the highest use (and popularity) of QR codes .
One thing to note is that the specification of these codes is available to any person / organization, and has been approved as a standard AIM, JIS and ISO.
Who created the QR code?
The corporation Denso-Wave , is responsible for the creation of QR codes , and their public release date was in 1994, primarily intended to be an easy to be interpreted by scanner equipment (such as those used in the hangars, to control the stock), which later became more accepted popular (at least in China) when people began to find other uses.
What are they?
Without trying to be repetitive, the main use of QR codes was aimed at enhancing access to product information by scanning machines, although the uses to which they can give are many, and mostly dependent on the capabilities of data may include within these codes.
Currently applied in manufacturing companies, logistics, sales applications and even video rental shops.
For skills, must do the analysis by type of information we want to store, as this will allow, for example … upload many more characters of alphanumeric numbers.
Here is a list of capabilities:
- Only numeric: 7089 characters
- Alphanumeric: 4296 characters
- Binary: 2953 characters
- Micro QR code: they only store 35 characters
You see, the amount of numbers or alphanumeric characters, they do a good data container, and since the technology was intended for readers the quick capture (remember, Quick Response ) is presented as a useful coding system for businesses.
Micro QR code, for the less able …
Since many devices may not be capable of decoding a QR code of between 2900 and 7100 characters has developed a smaller version called Micro QR code ( QR Micro Code ).
This version, although to encode such information which makes your-father, has a tiny capacity in relation to this, of only 35 characters (maximum), which is less than 1% … -not very useful for any application.
How do I generate a QR code?
We got to the fun part, because as we said earlier, any individual or organization can make use of this storage system, then it would be very bad comentásemos not like playing around with the codes.
The alternatives are both websites, as programs to download, here we discuss some of these:
- Kaywa (Web): This generator is quite friendly, with a form that allows us to configure almost every aspect, such as if we encode a URL, text, phone number or SMS. The limitations of the generator is the number of characters that do not go beyond 250. It is appreciated very much the possibility of generating the result in different sizes. [Noncommercial]
- Bookseller QRCode for Java : This library will allow us to include support for both encode and decode QR codes. Includes support for error correction, as well as some sample applications to have faster output. [Open Source]
- PyQrCodec : Module from / encode images with QR codes in Python. It is available for Windows and Linux. [Open Source]
- QRdraw Pro : Create QR code only, and is created by the makers of this code, Denso Wave [Payment]
- QRmaker Pro : As mentioned above, this application is created by the creators of the QR code, allowing you to create and manage this type of code in applications (via an ActiveX control).[Payment]
- Invx (Web): Another site that lets you create a code directly from your browser, with more limited options, but giving us the possibility to integrate the conversion on our own site.
Also of note is the possibility of acquiring QR code printing machines, which are sold by many companies, although these are not sufficiently accessible to us to buy one for home …
How do I read a QR code?
As is the case with the creation of these, there are many applications (web and desktop) currently available for your computer, although some phones already include such programs given their increasing use in countries like Japan.
Among the options are:
- Kaywa Reader : This software is intended for mobile, and need a camera to take advantage (in Macro mode). Unfortunately, you pay … so I can only mention nomas.
- i-Nigma : Another one for mobile, which does not tolerate my model (though my phone already includes such software, as I mentioned earlier).
- Intelcom QR Code Reader (Web) A library for Java that can be used via the web, or downloaded and run locally.
- ZXing : From Google, and for Android, so you are invited to test it experimentally
- ZXing Decoder Online (Web): Again on Google, but in this case to do so via the web, with the only requirement that we have to decode the image on a web server, which can be a problem for some … (At least to me, did not work when trying to upload an image)
There are many more choices, but try to list them all would make the article a list of links … and not my idea.
Are they safe?
One question that arose in my head after seeing the code, is whether these could encode sensitive information … but if you stop to think on your feet on the ground, you will only be safe if one tries to take the information encoding unknown point (as would go unnoticed in their eyes).
Perhaps more to see other implementations future encoding encrypted content and can carry a message inside an image (although this is already done) but must first be decoded from QR plaintext encrypted, and then its plain-understandable. But of course … would add a minimal layer of security, and would only be useful as non-data-point lead, but an image (other representation, say).
Possible future uses
If we start to ramble a bit about it, we realize that the number of applications can be very large in the future, because today information abounds everywhere, and it is necessary to minimize the eye …but, that is understandable.
Some ideas that might appear or-stay-and be part of our daily lives:
- Classifieds: classified ads currently are limited by words, and can be difficult for those offers, give as much information as possible in such a small space. A QR code image might help, but bear in mind that since the information would not be easily legible to the reader, which would represent a barrier to finding something quick and easy (let’s be clear, again, that it was intended to read machines, not people). The implementation could be realized, but should look around for all to access information in the same way … (Giving readers, perhaps).
- Supermarkets: While there are already some supermarkets in Japan (at least in testing), such codes could be very useful to provide extended information on products in which consumers are interested. Consider a person with celiac disease or diabetes, for example, who can not eat any product, but require-delete-candidates who can do him harm. Interesting would be that the consumer can get the reader discarding products that do not favor, and thus avoid taking a bad time (or buy something wrong).
- Advertisements: There have been cases of companies that are promoting contact information or details of a promotion through QR codes. Still, none has created advertising totally QR code, that is … it is large or small, but all information is encrypted. In large part, the brake is presented as the classifieds, and this decreased Target who knows these codes … and worse, of those who know how to use readers (mobile phones or on their computers) to decipher.
- Games: I saw ideas as-drawn-in regard to gaming magazines, I was not surprised to see in the future some games using QR codes applied in some way to allow the user to give a major difficulty. I do not think they are to decipher, but maybe if to complement the tasks that must be performed to reach a solution.
- Spam: Yes, friends, the SPAM could come encoded with QR Codes … Why? I wonder the same thing when people open an attachment … Why do they open?. People often get carried away by the temptation to view the content of something unknown or can not understand, so a QR code could be enough bait for these access information encoded … (Does the effectiveness? Depend on how many people know QR codes).
- Virus?: We could say that it is impossible, but still a little twisted mind could imagine a program designed with a vulnerability that is triggered when reading a QR code (try to decipher it), and if the content of the code is malicious, will execute without causing the same user has activated something unknown … and worse, you may not find out that it has for a long time …