QR Codes Out, LED Blinkers In (2013)


Over in Asia you’ll see QR codes on everything from billboards and bus stops to newspaper ads and websites. Every single time we post one on Phandroid at least one person asks – “what is that square looking barcode thingy”. Half of you are scrolling down the comments to copy/paste that quote while the other half are wondering, “No. Seriously. What is that thing?” First of all… this is a QR Code:


If you were to scan the above with your phone’s barcode scanner, it would launch It is awesomely useful for a variety of instances where you want to launch/visit/get something specific without the hassle of searching/finding/typing. North America has yet to make this method popular and we might just skip over it altogether – by 2013 a new method of passing such information may prove much easier.

Blinking LED lights. Put your phone within 5 meters of a blinking LED light and point your handset towards it and bingo bango – your phone will translate the light into code that it understands and acts upon. Pretty cool, right? But I have two questions:

  1. What if you don’t want to attach a blinking light to whatever the heck you’re advertising? Pretty obvious concern.
  2. What if this technology, by 2013, has an even more superior alternative?

I have a feeling this won’t get too far because of the restrictions of requiring a blinking light wherever the code is needed/wanted. If security concerns could be alleviated, I would think Bluetooth would be a far more reasonable solution. Do you have a genius solution yourself? Share in the comments. Or make your little “What is a QR Code” funny joke that I’m sure you can’t resist making. Jokers.

[Via MobileCrunch]

Rob Jackson
I'm an Android and Tech lover, but first and foremost I consider myself a creative thinker and entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for ideas of all sizes. I'm a sports lover who cheers for the Orange (College), Ravens (NFL), (Orioles), and Yankees (long story). I live in Baltimore and wear it on my sleeve, with an Under Armour logo. I also love traveling... where do you want to go?

LG GT540: Second LG Android Phone

Previous article

Porting Android To x86

Next article

You may also like


  1. I guess that explains why every single peice of technology in every Star Trek since TNG has a blinky light on it.

  2. Yea, until some encodes a virus in one of those Blinky Lights. With QR code, you at least have to scan it yourself. Hopefully, the hardware implementation only recognizes human visible spectrum.

  3. Hey, what is that square looking barcode thingy?

    And to the blinking LED idea… I hope not, it will be like IR all over again.

  4. QR IDs are the best thing ever. blackberry IM is using it now too. will be huge! trying to find more info about this. is pointing to, has anyone more info on QR ID ? also what does Q and R stand for?

  5. The blinking light doesn’t have to be in the visible spectrum… But it does consume power (even though relatively little) while a printed barcode does not…

  6. I’m sure the poor folks with epilipsy (sp?) will LOVE blinking LED’s all over…

  7. Steven,
    Quick Response.

  8. > What if you don’t want to attach a blinking light to whatever the heck you’re advertising?

    CCD cameras are able to se IR LED’s pretty well. Sometime when you’re bored, point your TV remote at your phone’s camera and see what happens.

    Power consumption isn’t really an issue… you could run the lights all night long on a relatively small battery charged by a solar panel. In fact, my grandfather owned several billboards in areas not served by power utilities, and they ran the billboard’s lights off solar charged batteries. Some blinking LED’s are pretty trivial at that point.

  9. RFID tags

  10. It doesnt really matter because the world is gonna end in 2012 anyways. No need for any of this…. :D

  11. Firefox extension I find really useful:

    Makes current page or links into a QR code on the spot without opening another window.

  12. I don’t think the LEDs will take the world on that soon. The good thing abot qr’s is that you can put them on paper, on web-pages, on stickers, clothes and what have you. A LED is a bit more stationary in my idea of how the world acts.
    The fun thing about QR’s is that they are real teasers and some people just cannot resist the urge to check them out and see where they end up when they see a QR (kind of like me with small roads in the woods).

  13. QR codes are a very cool technology. Thanks to the Android platform this technology will be more accessible to many more people in the coming months (after everyone buys a smartphone this x-mas). It’s pretty useful for a variety of applications. I posted one on my facebook account and everyone thought it was an ink blot :-). Oh well, my friends will remember my post if this becomes popular here like it has in japan. I’ve been working on some tools to make it easy for people to experiment with the technolgy for personal or business. Should be in beta soon.

    Thanks for this great site guys, I read it everyday.

  14. Yeah, I’m having trouble thinking of many situations where a blinking LED would be superior to a simple, static QR code. There are a vast number of use cases it simply wouldn’t cover.

    Deutsche Bahn, for example, is now doing purely electronic tickets where you just get an image containing a QR code on your phone, and the conductor scans it in.

  15. You can get a QR code reader for your Android device at

    There’s also a list of readers at my website

    Founder. QRMe

  16. I been experimenting with QR codes using I like there generator and they have a few interesting things they post on there blog.

  17. I use the neoreader, , The most reliable so far.

  18. I created, to combine the use of short url’s and qrid’s. There’s also a free module for the Joomla CMS available.

  19. A very hard to read website but cool way of using the error correction capabilities of QR codes.
    Google Translate can help.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in News