Enabling Multiple QR Codes in Close Proximity

Quick response codes – 2D patterns that can be scanned to access online resources – are being used in a variety of industrial and consumer applications. However, it is problematic to use multiple QR codes in close proximity: scans can fail or result in access to the wrong resource. While this problem is, strictly speaking, due to the design of the scanning software, the very large number of extant scanning applications makes changing the software a difficult logistical challenge. Instead, we describe the design of a new type of QR code that not only enables the use of multiple QR codes in close proximity, but also is compatible with existing scanning solutions. In an evaluation with 20 users, it was found that the new QR codes were as usable as traditional ones, and that they were superior for selecting one code from many. Users did have initial difficulty in discovering how to use the new QR code, so further work is required on that front. We conclude with a discussion of the pros and cons of pQR codes.

By: Mercan Topkara, Thomas Erickson, Umut Topkara, Chandrasekhar Narayanaswami

Published in: RC25568 in 2015


This Research Report is available. This report has been submitted for publication outside of IBM and will probably be copyrighted if accepted for publication. It has been issued as a Research Report for early dissemination of its contents. In view of the transfer of copyright to the outside publisher, its distribution outside of IBM prior to publication should be limited to peer communications and specific requests. After outside publication, requests should be filled only by reprints or legally obtained copies of the article (e.g., payment of royalties). I have read and understand this notice and am a member of the scientific community outside or inside of IBM seeking a single copy only.


Questions about this service can be mailed to reports@us.ibm.com .