QR Code: URL http://sk.wikipedia.org/

Image via Wikipedia

Have you noticed? They are starting to appear in the newspaper. QR Code. Or, Quick Response Code.

An extension of the bar codes we are all familiar with, the QR code is a square bar code that contains more information than is possible in a bar code and describes the product it sits next to.

New cell phones have QR code readers, so you can hold the cell phone up to the code and read what it tells you about the product. The ones I’ve seen so far duplicate the information in the newspaper article next to them. But, I think that is just to get us used to reading them. Ultimately, you will only have the code and your cell phone or a QR code reader and that will be the only way to read it.

They were invented in 1994 in Japan, initially for tracking parts during automobile manufacturing. Now, they are used for storing addresses and urls, and can be used for exchanging business card information in the vCard contact information format.

There must be some flexibility in devices’ ability to read the codes, as one creator made a code with waffles, chocolate chips and chicklets, that, apparently, is readable.

Waffles, with their regular, indented squares, appear to be well-suited to making QR codes, but other foods used at a recent competition include jello squares, cheddar crackers, and laser-etched tortillas

As a recovering techie myself, I was intrigued to find there is an edible QR code competition put on by New York City Resistor, a group of hackers, in which the waffle/chocolate chip/chicklet entry competed to be sure it was readable by a mobile phone.

Puts waffles in a whole new light. What is your breakfast telling you?