Friday, April 26, 2013

QR Codes, Barcodes, and RFID. OH MY!!!!

The students and I have explored QR codes quite a bit this year.  They have used the QR scanner on their iPads to scan everything from a website, to a listening selection for a composer, to a quiz.  We have discovered that QR codes are EVERYWHERE!

QR codes, bar codes, and radio frequency identification (RFID) codes are all unique and all serve different purposes. All convey large amounts of information in a small physical space.   They might link to a website, a text document, a photo, someone's business card, or even your voice!!  Basically it connects the online world to the physical world.

QR codes were created in Japan in the 1990s, although they didn't get much attention until very recently.  A QR code always has a filled-in box in every corner.  QR codes can easily be read by any free QR scanner on a smart phone, notebook or iPad. There are also a variety of free QR code generators if you want to create your own QR code.  The QR code below will take you to this blog!


Barcodes have been around for decades.  We are used to seeing them on packaging for things that we purchase.  They are not only handy for the point of sale (linking to the cost), but also for managing inventory.  Here's an example of a bar code, also easy to scan from any free scanner app.

RFID has similar uses to that of the barcode, but are especially useful in situations where vast quantities of goods are moved or tracked.  Large chains such as Wal-Mart and the Department of Defense us this to track the vast quantities of items required for their situations.  RFID tags are applied to items or boxes or pallets.  They vary in size, shape and capability.  The tag has a small antenna that emits a radio frequency signal, picked up by a special wireless RFID reader.  Here is an example of one.

RFID Tag

Coming tomorrow.....some VERY unique uses of the QR code!!!!!