It seems like we see QR codes everywhere: on bus ads, fast food wrappers and product packaging. One of my personal favourite uses was on a box of Christmas lights that linked to a video showing what the lights actually looked like in action.
QR, or quick-read codes, were originally created by the automotive industry as a way to quickly read information about auto parts. Because of their simplicity, they can be placed just about anywhere, which has led to some strange uses of the QR codes where you wouldn't expect it. Here are the top five weird ways we've seen QR codes being used. If you have some of your own, Yahoo! readers, please add them in the comments below!
Want to let people learn more about your loved one when they visit his or her gravesite? By adding a QR code to the headstone, let visitors see photos, videos, and biographies of the person at that eternal resting place. The quirky practice started out in Japan, where you can find QR codes just about everywhere, but a Regina company has taken up the practice and is introducing QR codes onto their memorials, too.
2. Virtual grocery store
If you find yourself too busy to visit the grocery store, or feel like you're wasting time, Tesco Home Plus in Korea has a solution. In order to be more competitive in the grocery market without getting more retail space, Tesco introduced the virtual grocery store. Subway riders can walk up to virtual shelves on boards in stations and scan the QR code below the picture of the product they wish to purchase. Once the users have finished compiling their shopping list, they pay via phones, and the groceries are delivered to their homes.
3. As a tattoo
Not just any tattoo, mind you. Tattoo artist K.A.R.L. created what he calls (and probably is) the first-ever animated tattoo. He created a design for his willing victim that had a QR code carefully incorporated into it, and live-streamed the tattooing process online. Watch this video to see what happens when he uses a QR code reader on his iPhone to read the tattoo:
4. Airport bathrooms
Certain bloggers out there are adamant that QR codes just don't belong in a bathroom. After all, the implications of handling a cell phone in the lavatory are unpleasant, to say the least. But an airport in Phoenix, Arizona, is using them in its facilities as a way to keep things cleaner.
"You scan the QR code and it texts someone in our facilities staff and then they send a cleaning crew over," said Julie Rodriguez, public information officer for the Sky Harbour International Airport in an ABC15 story.
5. In place of banned art
When Fredericton city hall asked artist Jeff Crawford if he had any 'non-nude' art to display, it probably wasn't expecting a QR code in response. The photographer was given the opportunity to display one of his works as a part of the Fredericton Arts Alliance's Artists-in-Residence program. He was asked for a replacement piece, however, when his portrait of a woman lying in a stream with a breast exposed was deemed inappropriate. He cleverly got around organizers' discomfort with having nudity displayed in city hall by creating a QR code instead. When visitors scan the code, they can see the original art piece displayed on their phones.