Bar code yesterday
Various types of bar codes have become label standards for many industries for their reading speed and accuracy. Bar codes spread wide a market need arose to expand the volume of data stored within and to decrease the printed size of the code. Do you remember products with multiple bar codes, because producers thought that one is not enough? Or those official forms with stacked bar codes on the side? All these were desperate measures to pack as much information into as little of paper space. This was the moment when in 1994 Denso, a Japanese company, came up with a two-dimensional, matrix-type kind of code.
Being a 2D code, the QR code (abbreviation form Quick Response code) holds data in both the horizontal and vertical axes, and it is a big breakthrough since conventional bar code contains information only in one. Just imagine how much more data it is possible to store in QR code than in bar code.
Benefits of 2D Codes
- High data capacity. A standard QR code can contain up to 7,089 numeric characters or 2,953 bytes of binary information.
- Data variety. Besides numeric and alphabetic characters, QR codes can encode Kanji, Kana, Hiragana, symbols, binary, and control codes. As far as Japanese characters are concerned, one Kana or Kanji character is encoded in 13 bits, which is at least 20% less compared to other 2D codes.
- Small printout size. The use of horizontal and vertical axes to store information enables to store approximately ten times more information on the same printout area. That is to say nothing about the Micro QR Code, which is even smaller.
- Dirt and Damage Resistance. QR code has an in-build data error correction feature. The data contained within can be restored even when it is partially dirty or damaged.
- 360° readability. QR codes can be scanned from any direction. You don’t have to align them to get them scanned.
- Structured Append Feature. A QR code can be divided into a maximum of 16 smaller QR code symbols for more convenient printing.
- Open specifications. Compared to other 2d codes, QR code specifications are defined in detail, disclosed to everyone, and patent rights are not exercised by Denso Wave, the patent right owner.
Note, that every QR code requires margins on all sides around the code square for proper reading.