Technology: What’s a QR Code?

Story by Hal Goodtree.

Cary, NC – Ever see those little boxes with a bunch of jaggy patterns in them? They’re called QR codes and they connect the world of print to the internet.

QR Codes

QR codes are becoming common around Cary. You’ll see (or notice) more and more of them because they are a helpful little bit of technology for everyday life. QR stands for “Quick Response.”

Let’s say you see a sign or an ad in a magazine that offers a coupon. Imagine 20% off at your favorite restaurant. But how are you supposed to take action? Take the sign? Rip out the ad?

If the printed material contains a QR Code, you can scan it with your smartphone and it will take you to a webpage containing the coupon.

Realtors are using QR Codes on their for-sale signs, linking people to more information about the property online. People are putting them on business cards.

Think of QR Codes as a bridge between printed materials and the web.

QR Code Smartphone Readers

Lots of QR Code Readers are available for all different smartphones – iPhone, Android and Windows. Many of the apps are free.

They all use the smartphone’s built-in camera as the scanner. Just tap on the app and it loads up the camera with a scanner going across the screen. Hold it over the QR Code. Shazzam – you’re redirected to a web page. You can usually save it or bookmark it or send it to yourself as an email.

I like QR Reader from Tap Media for the iPhone. It’s free and works well. An upgrade is available for 99¢ but I haven’t felt the need.

QR Codes and the Cary Scavenger Hunt

You don’t need a smartphone or a QR Code Reader to solve any clue in the Cary Scavenger Hunt (September 15 at Waverly Place), but it just might make things a little bit easier.

If you’re thinking of competing in this year’s Cary Scavenger Hunt, get yourself a QR Code Reader and try it out.

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