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QR Code for the URL of the English Wikipedia Mobile main page

A QR Code is a matrix code (or two-dimensional bar code) created by Japanese corporation Denso-Wave in 1994. The "QR" is derived from "Quick Response", as the creator intended the code to allow its contents to be decoded at high speed.

QR Codes are common in Japan, where they are currently the most popular type of two dimensional codes. Moreover, most current Japanese mobile phones can read this code with their camera.



Structure of a QR code, highlighting functional elements.

Although initially used for tracking parts in vehicle manufacturing, QR Codes are now used in a much broader context, including both commercial tracking applications and convenience-oriented applications aimed at mobile phone users (known as mobile tagging).

QR Codes storing addresses and URLs may appear in magazines, on signs, buses, business cards, or just about any object that users might need information about. Users with a camera phone equipped with the correct reader software can scan the image of the QR Code causing the phone's browser to launch and redirect to the programmed URL. This act of linking from physical world objects is known as a hardlink or physical world hyperlinks. Google's mobile Android operating system supports the use of QR codes by natively including the barcode scanner (ZXing) on some models and the browser supports URI redirection, which allows QR Codes to send metadata to existing applications on the device. Nokia's symbian operating system is also provided with a barcode scanner, which is able to read QR Codes.

Users can also generate and print their own QR Code for others to scan and use by visiting one of several free QR Code generating sites.


A giant QR Code linking to a website, to be read with a mobile phone.

There are several standards documents covering the physical encoding of QR Code:[1]

At the application layer, there is some variation between implementations. NTT docomo has established de facto standards for the encoding of URLs, contact information, and several other data types.[3] The open-source "zxing" project maintains a list of QR Code data types.[4]


The use of the QR Code is free of any license. The QR Code is clearly defined and published as ISO standard. Denso Wave owns the patent rights on QR Code, but has chosen not to exercise them.[1]

The term QR Code itself is a registered trademark of Denso Wave Incorporated.[5]


QR Code data capacity[6]
Numeric only Max. 7,089 characters
Alphanumeric Max. 4,296 characters
Binary (8 bits) Max. 2,953 bytes
Kanji/Kana Max. 1,817 characters
Error correction capacity
Level L 7% of codewords can be restored.
Level M 15% of codewords can be restored.
Level Q 25% of codewords can be restored.
Level H 30% of codewords can be restored.

QR codes use the Reed–Solomon error correction. The example below illustrates how the QR code handles distortion. Pixels were either added or removed from the original code to examine the borderline distortion level. Both of the altered images remain recognisable using "Level L" error correction.


Micro QR Code is a smaller version of the QR Code standard for applications with less ability to handle large scans. There are different forms of Micro QR Code as well. The highest of these can hold 35 characters.

Design QR is a QR Code that was optimized to include a picture or logo to enhance conversion rates. [7]

Use as artwork

British popgroup Pet Shop Boys used QR-code for the artwork of their download-only single "Integral" in 2007. The videoclip for the song also features QR-code. When the codes are scanned correctly, users are directed to the Pet Shop Boys website, and web pages about the British national identity card plans, respectively.

Author Kakariki [8] of website Radical Cross Stitch [9] created a QR code for her participation in an event called The Streets Of Melbourne Festival.

See also


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