QR Code: Spacious Yet Suspicious

By: Adam Button

Any avid wall watcher at Thiel may have noticed more QR codes (quick response codes) on club posters and other advertisements for events recently.

These square boxes with numerous black dots can come in various sizes and designs; yet their functionality is becoming more apparent in a post-pandemic world.

The original QR code was made in 1994 by Masahiro Hara to track cars during their manufacturing cycle. Even at that time, they were faster than the typical barcode.

QR codes, as well as all barcodes, use the white space to code the message. For QR codes specifically, they use Reed-Solomon error correction algorithm to decode the space into a message.

Without getting into the mathematics, QR codes can contain 7.089 numerical characters, 4296 alphanumerical characters or 2,953 bytes. For a small box, that is a lot to store. However, for most cases today, these QR codes link to a website through the web link.

Why are there more QR codes today then before the pandemic? This is because most smartphones come with a prebuilt QR reader in the camera app. If they do not have one, it is not hard to find a reader in the App Store. The use of QR codes range from electronic authentication and joining a wi-fi network to logging in to a website and getting an electronic menu for restaurants.

The Thielensian is utilizing QR codes as a more efficient way to connect readers with the newspaper’s social media accounts and website.

Despite the advantages, be careful when using QR codes. While these codes are helpful in keeping social distance, the same codes can lead to malicious websites. Scan at your discretion and most QR codes should lead to the desired website.

Categories: Featured, STEM

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