Sunday, June 1, 2014

2014 EPO Patent Award nominations! The QR code

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

The ubiquitous optical QR code is a contender for the European Patent Office  2014 awards, to be held in Berlin on June 17, 2014! What’s QR code? QR (Quick Response) code is the second generation of barcodes!

So…there are barcodes and there are square QR (Quick response) codes! And QR codes are definitely raising the bar of barcodes! They process 350 times more information and decode information 20 times faster!

Your smart phone camera can also scan them, and they supply a world of information far and beyond the price that is scanned from a barcode, since you can use them to access websites. QR codes are two dimensional codes whereas all barcodes as one dimensional. The two dimensional QR code means that information is stored in rows and columns, whereas one dimensional barcodes means that information is stored according to the width of the bars and spaces between them, and there are only 20 number symbols in a barcode. However, decoding of the 350 times more information stored in the rows and columns of two dimensional codes was initially very time-consuming. So, now you will  surely notice that two dimensional QR codes also contain a unique positioning code pattern located on three corners and forming a right angle on the square code, containing information for locating and processing the information stored in the two dimensional code area -- 20 times faster.

QR codes were developed in 1994 within the context of production and logistics as a method designed to improve the tracking of automotive parts in Japan. The inventors, Masahiro Hara, Motoaki Watabe, Tadao Nojiri, Takayuki Nagaya and Yuji Uchiyama have since then devised an even more information-packed code called the iQR code, designed specifically for industrial applications.

Below you will find the abstract of the contending patent EP 0672994 titled Method and apparatus for reading an optically two-dimensional code and figure drawings from the patent:

A two-dimensional code 1 consists of three positioning symbols 2, a data region 3, timing cells 4 and an apex detecting cell 5. The shape of the whole code 1 is a square having the same number of vertical and lateral cells. A scanning line passing through the center of each positioning symbols 2 always gives a constant frequency component ratio dark : light : dark : light : dark = 1 : 1 : 3 : 1 : 1, irrespective of the scanning direction. For this reason, even if a rotational angle of the two-dimensional code is not certain, the specific frequency component ratio of each positioning symbol 2 can be easily detected by executing only one scanning operation in a predetermined direction. Hence, the coordinates of the center of each positioning symbols 2 can be easily found. Thus, the position of the two-dimensional code 1 is quickly identified. [Abstract EP 0672994]

The EPO has invited everyone to vote! The interesting set of  rules which  make your votes count as a contribution to The Child Vision Project are  explained in a previous post on May 11, 2014…. So… remember to cast a vote! You can vote as many times as you like! And each vote is worth .25 cts Euro! 

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