QR Code. History and Purpose. - ByteScout
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QR Code. History and Purpose.

QR code is an abbreviation for quick response code. It is a type of 2-D barcode (also known as matrix barcode). Unlike a 1-d barcode, QR codes can encode a wide variety of data types, including numeric, alphabets, special characters, and binary data as well.

  1. QR Code History
  2. Types of QR Codes
  3. Purpose of QR Codes
  4. Usage

QR code consists of a set of square dots arranged in a square grid pattern with a white background. The square dots are randomly arranged in order to encode information.

QR Code History

QR code was invented in 1994 by a Japanese automotive company named, Denso Wave. Denso Wave is a subsidiary of Toyota Motors.

In 2000, the QR codes became internationally standardized. By 2002, the technology began to be widely used in Japan, with companies using QR codes to allow users to scan using their mobile phones.

Types of QR codes

The original QR codes are QR Code Model 1 and Model 2, with the largest version capable of holding up to 7,089 numerals. But while usage has spread all over the world, new versions have sprung up to support sophisticated uses.

The micro QR Code is a type of QR Code that standardized in Japan in 2004. It only needs one orientation of pattern detection, is small enough to be printed on a very small space.

The IQR Code was released in 2008 and can be in a square or rectangular modules. The IQR Code was followed by the SQRC which implements QR reading restrictions. It can be useful when you need to store private details. The “FrameQR” surfaced in 2014 and has a “canvas area” that offers flexibility in code designing. You can use FrameQR to include photos in the code.

Purpose of QR Codes

The purpose of the QR code was to develop such an encoding/ decoding system that allows quick and reliable scanning of fast-moving automotive equipment. In workshops, automotive parts are moved quickly from one place to another and are adjusted together. It is difficult to read such type of moving information with simpler barcodes; hence QR Code was developed to cater to those needs.

Today, QR codes are applied in designs that allow for their usage in websites, payments, Wi-Fi and in many other ways.


  • Used for document management, tracking products and time, inventory management, item identification, and marketing purposes.
  • Widely used in automotive companies in Japan.
  • Business cards often contain QR codes inscribed on them which may contain related information to the websites or the links to the resume of a person.
  • QR code enabled scavenger hunt was introduced by Starbucks for promotion purposes which contained information regarding the hints encoded in the QR code.
  • Darling National Wildlife Refuge in Florida (USA) uses QR codes in trails which contain links to the detailed information regarding the animals.

Funny Fact: In Seattle, QR codes are inscribed on graves which contain a link to the detailed information about the deceased person.

Interesting Fact: The QR codes technology is free of any license, so you don’t have to worry about terms of use either for printing your business card or for developing new software to read QR codes.


Read the second part HERE.