February 1, 2023
Sasin Paraksa / Shutterstock.com The humble QR code often feels like a trend or an annoyance. But this technology, which is over 25 years old, is much more useful and brilliant than it seems. And once you learn how they work, you may find yourself generating QR codes and sticking them around your home! What…

Sasin Paraksa / Shutterstock.com

The humble QR code often feels like a trend or an annoyance. But this technology, which is over 25 years old, is much more useful and brilliant than it seems. And once you learn how they work, you may find yourself generating QR codes and sticking them around your home!

What Is a QR Code?

The now-common QR code (short for “Quick Response” code) is a modern adaptation of the typical UPC barcode. It’s a machine-readable label that contains data, which a computer or smartphone can interpret faster than plain text or code.

Traditional UPC barcodes contain just twelve numbers, which may correspond to a grocery item or another product. But a QR code can store significantly more data—7,089 numbers, 4,296 letters, or 1,817 Japanese Kanji. You can use a QR code to store and recall website URLs, shipping information, automotive parts numbers, and other complex information.

But in most situations, QR codes are just shortcuts to websites or apps. A fast-casual restaurant may use QR codes to show customers its online menu, for example, while a clinic might ask patients to…

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