Creating and reading QR codes

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With the right tools, you can create your own QR code squares with information you want to share, for example, on a business card, in a letter, or on your website.

Read errors of unreliable, one-dimensional bar codes often caused interruptions in industrial production, prompting companies like Toyota and its subsidiary Denso Wave to develop as early as 1994 a new code for acquiring stock data. The new matrix bar code was designed to store more information than the traditional bar code and to stay legible, even if the label was dirty, wrinkled, or partially destroyed.

The quick response code, or QR code, comprises a matrix of square dots instead of the usual lines. Measuring up to 177 by 177 dots, the QR code encodes up to 4,296 characters, compared with a bar code that encodes just 13.

Thanks to numerous free reader apps for smartphones, QR codes have gained in popularity in recent years. Posters, catalogs, magazines, business cards, and even television screens display the small squares, offering additional information or URLs for microsites.

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