8 Really Geeky But Creative Ways To Use QR Codes At Home

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The plain-Jane QR code had a hi-tech beginning – Toyota used them in their manufacturing process for scanning automobile components. From there, QR codes have made the journey to even fashion ramps. That demonstrates their popularity, but not quite their usefulness. We need to give more examples. Tim gave a few when he talked about some great uses for QR codes. QR – Quick Response – codes have three noteworthy features. QR codes transport URLs very well. You can make them yourself easily, and you can read them just as easily with the many barcode scanning apps available for smartphones (e.g. Barcode Scanner for Android).

You may say that QR codes are fads, some may say QR codes are awesome…the moot point is that it’s a tool, and with a bit of thought, QR codes can be used in fun and useful ways around the house too. Here are a few I put together with some nice examples found around the web. If you believe in doing things differently, read on.

The Audio Fridge Door Note

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Can’t get through to your kids? It’s time to ditch the fridge note and pick up a handy QR generator instead. Kids are more easily susceptible to technology and the novelty of QR codes with custom messages placed covertly in least-expected areas (like a messy cupboard, a lunch box, or on the video game console) could get their attention. QR Voice helps you create a code which can be scanned and listened to. The QR code can be left on the fridge door or any other place. We covered the text to speech tool briefly last year. Of course, there are better ways to communicate, so I would put this down as more of a fun use.

Sharing Wi-Fi

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This is a hack which is often spoken about, but it remains relevant if you want to quickly share your Wi-Fi with guests and friends. We have briefly covered a tool like QR Code WiFi before that helps you quickly generate a code with your Wi-Fi parameters. QRStuff and QR Code Generator are other tools you can check out. You can download and print the QR code. Keep it next to your router or hang it up for your guests. You will be saved the bother of repeatedly giving the Wi-Fi details orally.

Lost and Found

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I remember reading about the cure for forgetfulness with QR codes in an article. The article goes into the details of how to use QR codes printed in key chains that allows anyone with a smartphone (and hopefully a QR code app) to read the message and contact you. As an offshoot, you can generate your own QR code with contact details like phone number, have them printed out in stickers, and use them on items which you tend to misplace like phones and…pets.

Moving & Packing

This is a real-world use which is surprisingly effective. QR codes can store text information among other things. QR Code labelled stickers with the inventory of what’s inside a particular package or box is a good time-saving device. A quick scan with a QR code reader saves you dollops of time when you have shifted house and are rummaging around for that hammer among the litter of boxes.

Tag Your Electronics

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An idea to go completely paperless – connect your devices’ manuals to the devices through QR codes. You can keep the manual PDFs on Dropbox (or any other cloud drive) and convert the URL to a QR code. Paste the code sticker on your device. The next time when you need to consult the manual, you can do so straight from your smartphone by scanning the code on the device. You can also encode data like a device’s purchase date, serial number, and customer service center number and keep it handy for ready reference. You can also include your name and address as a basic “anti-theft” precaution.

Tag Your Books

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I love time-stamping my books with the date of purchase or that of a gift. QR codes allow me to do it in a cooler way. For the sake of nostalgia, I can write a story behind the purchase and include tiny bits of information like where I purchased the book or who gifted it to me. Writing this by hand sullies the beauty of a freshly purchased hardcover edition. The abstract beauty of a QR code sticker on the back page takes less away. A deeper use could be to link the book in your hand to wider informational resources on the web like a Wikipedia article or a YouTube video.

“Multimedia” Greeting Cards

Get creative with your greeting cards. Yes…yes I know – no one sends physical greeting cards anymore. But imagine what you could do with a combo that uses a physical greeting card and a QR code stuck on it that links to an online home video shouting out the “real greeting”. You can turn a cheap greeting card into a dynamic multimedia card with a more personal touch. Host your home video on YouTube (with privacy applied) and even Dropbox. You simply take the link and convert it into a QR code. Print it on a greeting card.

Dispatch Directions

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I remember my wedding card had one page devoted to directions to the reception hotel. On hindsight I wish my guests had been tech savvy enough for me to use QR codes. It would have allowed me to use encode Google Maps with clear directions and print it in a fraction of the area it ultimately took. You can do it for your events and house parties by simply mapping the exact Point A to Point B addresses on Google Maps and converting it into a QR code. The new Google Maps makes it easier with directions. You can also embed the Street View URL in a QR code. Use a link shortener to make the QR code a bit neat and easier to scan. I couldn’t figure out a way to include both Google Maps and Street View (where available) in a single URL, but a site like TripGeo could be of help. We had covered it briefly some years back.

Using QR codes around the house is limited only by your imagination. Web apps like Kaywa and Goqr make it easy to create and print QR codes quickly. I once wrote about five websites that helped you use QR codes differently. Remember QR codes can be used not only for linking you to a website, but also for pure information. This will help you figure out how to creatively use QR codes around the house. I am hoping that some of the ideas will spill over into the comments. C’mon…give it a try even if you haven’t used QR codes so far.

Image Credit: The Darling Librarian; cogdogblog; EEPaul; Woman scanning QR Code; János Balázs

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47 Comments - Write a Comment

Reply

Ariosto

nice! I will use this to the future! : soon if i will had a smartphone! :D

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Darren R

I really like the idea for the dog tag :)

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Roger

use it for manuals is the real winner

Saikat B

Yes. It’s a timesaver sometimes. Linking it to the warranty receipts along with it also helps.

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YouScan.me

Thanks for sharing this uses in one place. We at http://www.youscan.me offer creation of dynamic, trackable QR codes on which you can add social info, videos, etc. which can be useful to your visitors along with Kaywa and Goqr

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Momo

“Tag your electronics” talks about going completely paperless…aren’t the labels with the QR codes on them actually…paper? ;O)

Saikat B

Ha,ha…good point! Is it possible to go completely paperless?

jinxbh

laser engraving directly on device, with accurate contrast it should be readable

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Joe G

My kids and I enjoy printing QR codes and placing them throughout the house for a quick and easy scavenger hunt. Simply Make the last one first (ex “You found it!!) then work backwards making codes with instructions to find the next tag (ex “Look in the refrigerator on the baking soda box”). The kids love scanning the codes and finding their next clue. The game is fast-paced and keeps them running :)

Saikat B

I think the kids get excited about the “scanning” part :)

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Jay

Or you could just type the information in plain english and then you would not need a smartphone to access the information.

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Soni

I immediately decided these would be great for labeling home-canned items. The code could link to the recipe used, date canned, processing notes for next time plus usage ideas. And they could all be scanned into another system (and scanned out when used) to keep a running pantry index.

Saikat B

You know, I actually thought of this point as well. I didn’t think it through as to how I would put it all together.

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gregory chapelle

I had a Boy Scout in my troop who used QR codes in an outdoor Eagle Project trail improvement. Always new ways to use these innovative codes.
http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/apr/29/tp-scout-combines-tech-with-the-great-outdoors/

Saikat B

That’s a superb initiative. Thanks so much for sharing the link.

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Steve

Good Idea for luggage tags. Keeps your home information more private from prying eyes at airport so they don’t rob you while your gone.

Kia

Well, all they need is a smartphone…

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Tony C

Is there a way to share your articles through twitter and G+ other than copy & paste? Most sites have simple buttons that automatically share by clicking them. Maybe you guys should look into this since you’re heavily into tech? I’ve been wanting to share some of your articles now for the past couple of years. Sometimes you guys have very interesting stuff, but your site is not share friendly. Thanks!

Saikat B

There’s the share bar on the left. You can use it to share directly from the page. With the new redesign (which is very much in beta), we are working on a few things.

Tony C

Saikat B: Thank you for your prompt reply. I see it now. I had my browser set up to 125% magnification so I could read the text better and when I have it at that setting, the share buttons are not visible. When I return to the default 100% they do show up! Thanks!

Saikat B

Hi Tony, glad I could help. Keep sharing away now :)

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Jitendra A

Awsome! Will use them :)

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Marvin Reynolds

The labeling works if you have a label printer as are commonly used for printing name tags of shipping labels. I can imagine a nice little app for smart phones and that collects items going into packing boxes and then wirelessly sends the content to a label printer. Sure would save a great deal of time on the other end. U-Haul and Ryder could rent the scanner/printer bundle for a nice premium.

Saikat B

In fact there are compact label printers and cheap as well. That’s what makes the whole thing feasible for quick printing and labelling. Prices as far as I could tell, go as low as $30-$40. Else, you can use your usual printer.

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Gwyneth Jones

WOW! Thanks for using my Creative Commons graphic for the QR Voice, I’m dead flattered!
Cheers!
~Gwyneth Jones
The Daring Librarian dot com

Saikat B

Thanks to you Gwyneth. The image was a life-saver and says the whole story :)

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Darryl H

I’m really liking the talking QR codes, I’ve got to integrate this into my business.

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Gwyneth Jones

Oh and by the way, sweetie
– thanks for the Photo Credit but
…though I AM darling
(my 4 ex-husbands would tell ya!)
my brand is the DARING Librarian! ;-)
@gwynethjones

john jacob jingle-heimer-smith (again)

After reading this; I’ve made up my mind.
I’m legally changing my name into a QR code. No translation or url option. scanning will lead you to an image – (of the same QR code – which leads to an image…..). I’m going to pull a “artist formally known as ‘Prince’ ” I think it could become the ultimate solution for identity theft prevention; While the rest of you rearrange the same 36 alpha numerics searching in vain for your ‘unique?’ identity;;; I refuse to be ‘Just another number… Nope; not me. I’m going to have it tatooed to my forehead (since it’s a non-pronouncable symbol) but; it’s uniquely me-mine. ha. Maybe I can find a future QR-encoded wife; and I’ll snicker when she trys to hyphenate onto MY identity. Think about it.. Now stop. Can’t stop thinking about it; CAN YOU? It’s deep; I’ll give me that.

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Jilandy

Thanks for the great suggestions and article. Another thought came to mind…how about important medical info? You could make a list of contacts, medication, etc., and keep the code on your tablet, phone, and print a copy for your wallet. The whole family would be covered, esp. kids, in an emergency.

Saikat B

Oh yes. Now, why didn’t I think of that. Plus, you could include the name of the doctor who prescribed the meds. Very useful in cases of multiple ailments and multiple doctors. Thanks for that suggestion.

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Alejandro

I think a great use may be inserting it in a printed version of C.V.

Saikat B

Especially if you are applying for a tech job :)

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Stephanie S

Thanks for all these great ideas! I have 4 tech-savvy grandchildren and they’d love to use some or all of these suggestions. :)

Saikat B

Being tech-savvy, it wouldn’t be a surprise if they know some of these already :)

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Giulio

We’ve created a project which use qrcode/nfctag to keep alive the stories of people passed away, have a look at http://www.restinmemory.com

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Angela A

Love the directions idea & the box tracking. The latter would have been awesome when we moved.

Saikat B

For me too. But then there’s always a next time :)

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Me

While tech is fun, do you really want to take the chance that the person who finds Fido not only owns a smart phone but is savvy enough to use it? Seriously, all that tag space taken up by the QR code is plenty of room for name/phone number in large font. Even though I own a smart phone and can use it, if I found a dog whose owner is some jerk that is going to require me to hold onto a dog I don’t know AND fish out my phone to simply get his contact info, I’d probably let someone else waste their time. Nothing says “presumptive jerk” and “waste my time” like that QR tag.

As for the family medical records, that sounds nice and all, but what happens in an emergency situation? Again, do you want to take the chance that when you need medical attention, that scanning capability will be there or someone will think of it? How often do paramedics rifle through other people’s wallets looking for medical information? When your life is on the line, they are busy trying to save it. If you have a serious condition or allergy, get a med-alert bracelet so it can be immediately identified. Your family doctor doesn’t matter in these situations and by the time your records will need to be accessed, next of kin will have already been notified. And how much of your personal information will you be including for any wallet thief to scan? Let’s all remember Colorado and think about how many people had charged batteries for this idea or what it will be like to have your personal medical history/info posted all over the internet by some clown who scanned your code.

As for moving tags, etc. that is a fine use of this technology. Using it in any other situation where the information you need to convey is of a critical nature seems rather fool-hearty.

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Carlos

We’re using QR-CODE to help cities and museum to create there own guide and share cultural informations. If your are interested : http://www.holo-guide.com

Saikat B

Thanks for the link. It really is an interesting use and I hope you are getting good feedback with its utility.

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Muhammad I

A very good article. I didn’t know about such uses of QR codes earlier and these are really worth trying.

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William Swartzendruber

Business cards.

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Amy Kame

The coolest and most practical use of QRs is in funky medical ID jewelry at My ID Square ( http://www.MyIDSquare.com )

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Speider Schneider

GREAT article! It was almost as good as when I wrote it a month before you stole it. http://uqr.me/2013/08/uses-for-qr-codes-around-the-house/

Saikat B

I have mentioned — “Here are a few I put together with some nice examples found around the web. ” in the beginning of the post. As far as I can remember, I didn’t come across your post; which is well-written again, by the way. I got most of them from Quora, Reddit, and general web search etc. Most of these tips date back even further than last year (e.g. http://goo.gl/aTZs7n OR (http://goo.gl/vpKvA6 OR http://goo.gl/DQO8JA). I am not claiming anywhere the ideas are original…you shouldn’t either :)

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Speider Schneider

I’m sorry, but I only write original content to keep up the best SEO and stay above board with Google Panda. If you are going to “borrow” ideas you find “around the web,” then attribute them (all of them) with a link to the original source.

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