Monday, July 23, 2012

QR Codes - Scan 'em

We see them more and more all over the these days - in magazines, all over the internet, on your Blackberry, and many other places. I'm talking about QR Codes (see image on the right).

This evening's computer club activity was very cool. Club members had to move around the school, find, and scan 6 QR Codes in order to answer two  questions.

The 6 QR Codes were:
  1. Google map location (The White House in Washington DC)
  2. Wikipedia page on Barack Obama
  3. A local website
  4. A line of text
  5. An email address
  6. A telephone number
What are QR Codes:
QR stands for Quick Response. A QR Code is like the barcode (UPC barcodes = universal  product codes) you see on products your Mum buys at Spar.
What do they look like? For those of you who’s never scanned a BB PIN, it is a series of (black) squares arranged in the shape of a larger square. It was invented by a part of Toyota in Japan. A QR Code has 3 very obvious squares on three corners and another smaller square near the 4th corner.  The scanner uses these squares to normalise the image size, orientation, and angle. The small dots are then converted to binary numbers.

The normal barcode you see on a product tells the till (Point of Sale) what the product is being scanned and it's price. But a QR Code can do so much more than a normal barcode.
It can take you to an online location like: A website; Google map location; Youtube video; Facebook page; Twitter account; Linkedin account; Foursquare account; An app store download; iTunes link; Open up a new email message with the “To” field already filled in; Open a Skype call. It can also hold: Lines of text like a sentence; VCard; VCalendar; An Email address; Telephone number.

The Process:
Club members were instructed to download a free QR Scanner. They were divided into 6 teams. Each team received a form with the two questions and a pen. Armed with their mobile devices, they had to find and scan the 6 QR Codes in order to reveal the clues. They then had to Google and piece together the clues. This quiz was hard but the computer club boffins proved themselves worthy again. "Excitement" was at the order of the day as they hurried through the clues and kept their answered secret from the other teams - very competitive. :-)

The Questions
1. Who is the focus of this scavenger hunt?
2. Who should we send this information to and in which South African city does he/she live?

The Winners
And the winners were Jana, Gerrit, and Frans. The 3 of you may come collect your prizes from me on Thursday, 26 July. Well done!!!

Our next club meeting will be on Monday, 6 August 2012.

Until next time... Take care.