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QR Code Research

QR Code Research

I have to make frequent visits from where I’m currently living in Northern Thailand to Bangkok. The bus is the best option for me. Unfortunately, it’s a 10 hour one-way trip. That means I have to keep my self entertained. But with today’s technology, it’s easy to do. For example, the Oishi green tea juice box I was given by the bus service contained a QR code.

On the box it was referred to as an “AR Technology” Code. I took AR as being “Augmented Reality”. That’s a bit misleading but maybe that’s what the company that Oishi uses refers to QR as. By the way, QR is short for “Quick Response”.

I’ve known about QR codes but have never really looked at them other then identifying them on various products. I had yet to go as far as to actually take a picture of the code and see what information it contains. It’s just not too popular back in the States yet and the products that had codes I wasn’t interested in. But I had lots of free time, so I decided to check it out.

According to Wikipedia, QR Codes are very popular in Japan. QR codes were invented in Japan back in 1994 where they are currently the most popular type of two dimensional codes. It also makes sense that my green tea juice box had a QR label on it…Oishi is a Japanese company.

QR codes are often used on advertisements and product packaging so users can snap a photo with their cell phone or web cam and then use the Internet to research product information, promotions/discounts and any number of other things that consumers love so much. I decided to try this out for myself so I downloaded “QR Reader” for my iPhone.

I snapped a photo with my iPhone camera and loaded QR Reader. The app let you either take a picture directly from the app or to choose a saved photo. I selected the photo of the QR label. After a few seconds, the app spit out the following code: 8JZEPC

What does 8JZEPC mean? I was confused so I saved the information and decided to investigate further when I had access to high-speed Internet.

When I got home I went to the AR Code section of the Oishi website. Here’s what the site says:

“Oishi Green Tea invite you to a new experience in gaming. The first combining the best technology in 2010 AR Technology and Restaurant games online together. The first time you will play a restaurant owner. From Interior Design Shop Management with cool menu cooked from all over the world. Using AR Technology as part of the game. Code box beside Oishi Green Tea UHT Transmission via Web Camera Web site Oishi Green Tea. North imaginative fun creating a game full restaurant of the most innovative line of AR.”

Gotta love the translation of this. From what I gather, the code I received is part of a game. Here’s the official link to the QR game. You use this code in the online game/contest to further progress and ultimately win prizes. Pretty cool.

So it turns out that my iPhone read the QR correctly, it was just that instead of expecting a website to read more information about Oishi Green Tea, it was a code used as part of an online game. Go figure! Anyway, I have a good time investigating the technology and I highly recommend Oishi green tea.