As a followup to this post about my new phone I thought I'd offer this QR Code primer and offer some example images. My new phone (details) allows me to create these QR codes based on more or less anything. It's really rather cool, like modern hieroglyphics. Click here to generate your own QRCodes! More detailed info as well as some (Japanese) tools can be found here.
What are QR Codes?
QR Codes are basically 2-dimensional UPC or barcodes. As you can see on the manufacturer's page they're capable of holding quite a bit more data than a standard UPC code. It's an internationally standardized system of encoding information so that it can be read by a visual scanner. It's almost certain to be immediately superceded by RFID chips, assuming rabid anti-technology privacy advocates don't shift us back to the dark ages. ;)
These codes are quite common in Japan and are often seen on flyers and magazine ads. Cellular phone users can scan the code with their built-in camera and immediately have all the contact info they need entered into their camera, sorted appropriately.
These codes are reportedly quite durable, allowing up to 30% of the code to be obscured or removed by dirt, marks or damage and still be completely readable. The can be printed as a regular graphic by any printer, making them very flexible.
Please see this page for a detailed look at the data capacity of a QR Code.
Example code: Contact info
The code shown below contains contact info for me, including my name, phone number, and email address. If you were to scan this with your phone it would show all the information listed.
You can store anything as a QR code. In the 8 codes shown below a 1.5k PNG file is encoded. Scan them in sequence and be amazed! Assuming your camera is crippled without either a USB or Infrared port, and there's no SD card slot, you can scan all these codes to input an image. Totally useless, but curious nonetheless. Check out this ridiculous example.