When he invented the Quick Response or QR code in 1994, inventor Masahiro Hara was actually looking for a way to increase the amount of information that could be stored on a simple paper label.
Recently, however, he told the U.K. Telegraph that the emergence of better image recognition software will likely make his invention obsolete in about 10 years.
Awarded the “popular prize” at the recent European Inventor Award 2014, Hara believes that there are a number of evolutions which will help to give the QR code a little bit more life but, in about a decade, it will fall out of use completely.
When he invented the QR code in 1994, one-dimensional barcodes, which are limited to about 20 alphanumeric characters, had been around for over 20 years. The QR code, developed by a team including Hara and Takayuki Nagaya, was the first two-dimensional code and increased the amount of information that could be held by approximately 250 times.
Since then QR codes have found their way onto virtually everything, from business cards to airline tickets and in warehouses and manufacturing plants all over the globe. Extremely easy to use, they can be read with either a dedicated reader or practically any smart phone or tablet computer. Even if a significant portion of the code is gone or corrupted, an error correction algorithm developed by Reed-Solomon still allows them to be read.