A quick response code, abbreviated with QR Code, is a two dimensional matrix of black dots and white spaces. QR codes store information as URLs, tracking codes, or other identifiers, intended to be read by a scanning device, smart phone or camera.
QR Code was originally invented in 1994 by Denso Wave, a Toyota subsidiary, as a way to track vehicles as they were assembled, and to scan components at high speeds. While Denso Wave does hold the patent on the technology, it has granted free licence on it, going so far as to publish the specifications online, and allowing anyone to use it.
The two-dimensional QR Codes can hold a lot more of information that conventional one-dimensional barcodes as code 39. They fit well on printed documents and magazines, clothing, point-of-purchase displays, packaging, vehicles, buildings or business cards. This led to a fast adaption of QR Codes beyond the automotive industry. Businesses use them in a wide variety from linking to their websites, company helplines, or Google Maps directions, to inventory tracking, shipping and logistics, online ticketing, or even to enable for fast and easy electronic payments.