QR codes – The Power of Smaller Code
QR codes have become an indispensable tool for packaging, marketing, ticketing, and tracking. The popularity of QR codes has led to the development of various types such as the traditional QR code and the micro QR code. But what makes one different from the other? Let’s break it down:
In a nutshell, while both QR codes serve the same purpose of encoding information, the micro QR code is suitable for smaller and simpler data, while the traditional QR code is best for more extensive information.
The Basics of QR Codes and Micro QR Codes
In recent years QR Codes have become so popular that you may have seen them, even if you didn’t realize it. QR (Quick Response) Codes are two-dimensional barcodes that can be scanned by any smartphone with a camera and a QR Code reader app. Once scanned, the code will direct the user to a website, video, or any other piece of information encoded within it. Micro QR Codes, on the other hand, are smaller versions of QR codes designed for use cases such as packaging and shipping labels. Both QR Codes and Micro QR Codes were invented by Denso Wave, a subsidiary of the Toyota Motor Corporation, in 1994.
The Module Difference between QR Codes and Micro QR Codes
The main difference between QR Codes and Micro QR Codes lies in the number of modules they require. Modules are the black and white squares that make up the QR Code. A traditional QR Code requires at least four modules of empty space, whereas a Micro QR Code only requires a space of two modules. This means that Micro QR Codes can be smaller than QR codes even when they contain the same amount of information. For example, a QR code containing 1000 characters would typically need to be around 1.5 inches by 1.5 inches. A Micro QR Code containing the same information would only be around 0.9 inches by 0.9 inches.
Fun Fact: Micro QR Codes can hold up to 35 numeric characters while a standard QR Code can hold up to 7,089 numeric characters.
Capacity and Information Encoded in QR Codes and Micro QR Codes
Despite being smaller, Micro QR Codes still have impressive capacity for information. They encode information in the same way as QR Codes do, but with a smaller format. The data capacity of a Micro QR Code ranges from 11 to 63 alphanumeric characters, depending on the version used. QR Codes, on the other hand, can encode more information, ranging from 7,089 numeric characters to 4,296 alphanumeric characters. In general, QR codes are better suited for larger amounts of data and Micro QR Codes for smaller amounts.
The Spatial Impact of QR Codes and Micro QR Codes
The spatial impact of QR Codes and Micro QR Codes refers to the amount of space they take up on a piece of material or product packaging. Since Micro QR Codes require less space, they are great for when you need to encode information within a small area. This makes them ideal for small products or packaging where space is at a premium. In comparison, larger QR Codes may be too big to fit on some products, especially smaller ones.
Did you know: The smallest Micro QR code available is only 0.16 inches by 0.16 inches.
Advantages of Using Micro QR Codes over Traditional QR Codes
There are several advantages to using Micro QR Codes over traditional QR Codes.
- Small Size: Micro QR Codes can be smaller than traditional QR codes, making them ideal for small products or packaging.
- High-Quality Scanning: Due to their smaller size, Micro QR Codes can be scanned from further away and still produce a high-quality scan.
- Robustness: Because Micro QR Codes are smaller, they contain fewer modules, making them more robust and better suited to printing on surfaces that may be rough or uneven.
Limitations and Potential Problems with Micro QR Codes
As with any technology, there are potential problems and limitations with using Micro QR Codes.
- Cannot Encode Large Amounts of Data: If you need to encode a large amount of data, QR Codes are still the better choice as Micro QR Codes may not have the capacity to hold all the information.
- May be too small for some Applications: While their small size is an advantage in certain scenarios, it can also be a limitation in others. Some applications may require a larger barcode for scanning or readability purposes.
- Not Widely Used: While QR Codes are becoming more mainstream, Micro QR Codes are still relatively unknown in many industries. This can make it difficult to find a supplier that can provide Micro QR Codes printing services.
In conclusion, Micro QR Codes are an excellent option for businesses that need to encode small amounts of data on their products or packaging. They have a small footprint, high-quality scanning, and robustness. While they may not be suitable for every situation or industrial sector, Micro QR Codes provide a convenient and versatile option for encoding information in small spaces.