QRobots: A QR code alternative with personality

QR Codes are a great idea but they are big and ugly. You can customise them to a degree, but they still lack personality. For example, here are some I made to print as Moo stickers:

There is also the Microsoft tag, but that looks even worse.

I wonder if it would be possible to create another type of code that works in the same way, but instead of generating a random checkerboard pattern, it created some kind of face. I’ve quickly drawn up two examples of what these could look like (at the top), but I imagine a much more detailed/abstract look would be required to accommodate the amount of information they would need to contain.

Some thoughts:

  • Perhaps the centre of the eyes could be stable reference points, like the corner squares of QR codes.
  • Every other element is subject to change.
  • Maybe the design allows the user to enter a limited number of characters, like a short URL or brand name, which will be incorporated into the code.
  • The user could be able to learn to predict what kind of information the code contains by the shape of the code face itself, eg: circles could be for web URLs, squares for text only, hexagons for numeric data.
  • As well as encoding the necessary information, the resulting code should conform to a formula for cuteness, as much as possible.

What do you think?

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5 thoughts on “QRobots: A QR code alternative with personality

  1. I didn’t know you could do that to QR codes – I knew there was some redundancy/error correction stuff, because I saw the BBC’s logo hack some time ago, but to get a proper logo on is pretty neat. Might have to try that =)

  2. Hello,

    that’s great! Are still working on this project? Or is there already a usable version online?

    • I never took this idea any further than this post. Feel free to take the idea and run with it if you have the skills.

      I’d love to work with someone to make it happen.

  3. QR codes are accessible to anybody with a camera phone, well-known worldwide & do have a lot of customization options.Is it really necessary to pull a Microsoft & add another proprietary format?

    • Well Anonymous Coward, as I explained in the post QR codes are big and ugly and lack personality. Perhaps those reasons are not good enough for you, but they were the motivation behind my idea.

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