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Graffiti Codes Let You Surf With a Wave of Your Phone

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A graffiti artist at work.

Researchers want people to be able to create quick response (QR) codes anywhere at any time, much like graffiti.

Credit: Pkrzysztof Dydynski/Getty

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) Media Lab want to enable people to create quick response (QR) codes on the spot, like graffiti.

Although QR codes are becoming increasingly pervasive, they still need to be printed in advance. Instead of having smartphone users take a photo of the code, MIT's Jeremy Rubin would have them move their phone over the complicated square patterns and have Graffiti Codes use the device's accelerometers to pick it up. The phone's software would recognize the pattern and convert it to code that digitally links to a Web page. A pattern can be drawn on any surface with a marker, and anyone can scan the graffiti with their own smartphone and be directed to the same information.

The researchers say the hybrid digital-physical tags could be used to offer coupons to shoppers on the move, or to recognize movement patterns such as walking up stairs, triggering a message. "The idea is that it is easily created by anyone and as easily detected," Rubin says.

From New Scientist
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