Barcodes and QR Codes: what they are and how to read them
The Barcode is one of the most widespread and widely used traceability and identification systems. Formed by an alternating sequence of bars of different thickness, it is mainly used in large-scale retail trade to identify finished products, which will then be purchased by consumers. The bars encode thirteen digits that specify various characteristics of the products, such as the nationality of the producer, product type, brand and price. The code is read by special scanner readers and must be intact and clearly visible for the reading process to be successful.
The QR Code, on the other hand, is a two-dimensional, square-shaped barcode, consisting of several black modules on a white background, mainly used for storing information and data. A single code can contain thousands of numeric and alphanumeric characters.
Its name, which is derived from the English term "Quick Response Code", emphasises the extreme speed with which the code is able to deliver information, which can be decoded through mobile devices.
To read a QR code, simply scan the code with a smartphone, tablet or special reader and you are immediately redirected to the desired information (e.g. product information). Compared to barcodes, QR codes can store more data: a code can contain up to 7,089 numeric and 4,296 alphanumeric characters. Compared to one-dimensional codes, moreover, the QR Code can be read even if it is faded or scratched.