QR code, short for Quick response code is a trademark matrix barcode first developed in Japan to be used in the auto industry. It is an optical label which contains information about the product it is attached to. It can be read easily using a QR code scanner or even a camera built in your smartphone.

Due to its greater storage capacity and fast readability compared to the UPC codes it has become quite popular even outside the auto industry. A typical QR code is made up of square dots arranged on a white background inside a square grid. The image is then interpreted and required data extracted from patterns present in vertical and horizontal components of the code.

QR codes were designed originally for industrial uses but have now become popular in consumer advertising. Most commonly used QR code scanner is a smartphone which uses its camera to access the code and then converts it into a URL of a website thus preventing the need to type an entire web address. These codes have now become the point of focus for many advertising strategies since they provide a method of quickly accessing the website of any particular brand or product without manually entering their URL. Their intended use was to track parts during vehicle manufacturing, as of 2012 they have been used for much wider applications such as entertainment, commercial tracking, transport ticketing, product marketing and in store product labelling.

According to a recent study published in the journal of The Optical Society the QR codes could soon be used to display 3 dimensional images on your phone and that too securely without making use of the internet. QR codes have been most efficient and convenient in accessing particular web pages using any mobile device or a smartphone. A team comprising of optical engineers from the University of Connecticut have found a way to display 3-D images by just scanning a number of QR codes using an arrangement of tiny lenses added to a normal smartphone, all without accessing the internet even once.

This display scheme and data storage technique might have some wonderful implications for product visualisation for marketing and manufacturing, personal 3D entertainment and secure data transmission and storage. The QR codes developed stores encrypted and compressed images that can be scanned easily, decrypted, decompressed and displayed using commercial smartphones for safe visual communication.

Using their research the team also addressed a fundamental security flaw with the regular QR codes. If you scan a QR code the phone automatically links to the website but that website may include malware thus affecting your phone. In order to solve this problem the engineers stored self-contained data slices in the QR codes making it possible to visualise and receive 3-dimensional images without connecting to the internet. This process of encoding and storing images is performed by selecting a primary image that has to be visualised. This image could vary from a single object like a car to a complete scene.

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