How Do QR Codes Work?


Quick Answer

Quick Response codes are two-dimensional images that use a scanning app, a mobile device’s image sensor and system processor to align small squares with larger position markers. When these markers line up, the mobile device reads and displays the digital information embedded in the QR code.

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Full Answer

QR codes are comprised of different zones that feed scanning apps information about a specific product and the code itself. According to “What Is A QR Code and How Does It Work?” the large squares in a QR code are position markers at the edges of the code. The smaller square in a QR’s lower-right-hand corner is an alignment marker, a reference point for the scanner. In addition, QR codes use strips of alternating black and white modules called “timing patterns” to define rows and columns and markers to define the format of the digital information in the QR, such as websites, numbers and foreign characters. The more modules in a QR coder, the higher its version number. Higher versions (up to v40, 177x177 modules) must be defined in the QR code, while lower versions need not be defined in the QR code.

QR codes can hold up to 100 times more data than conventional one-dimensional bar codes. The first QR codes were 21x21 modules, which hold four charters of data. QR codes that are 177x177 modules can hold up to 1,852 characters, which is equivalent to approximately two pages of written text.

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