That’s what a friend thought she heard last fall as we admired an oversized sculpture of a duck-shaped pull toy at ArtPrize, a large public art competition in Grand Rapids, Mich.
“Giant Quakers” a piece created by artists Gary Cacchione and David Seitzinger of Erie, Penn., displayed in front of the Public Museum of Grand Rapids (Mich.) during ArtPrize 2013.
Actually, the sound was made by me using an application on my smartphone to snap a picture of the QR code in front of the exhibit.
“Oh, silly me!” my friend exclaimed, seeing the “quack” was me fiddling with my phone. “I thought the duck talked!”
In a way, the QR code did allow the duck to talk. The code popped a story about how (and why) this whimsical sculpture was created to the screen of my smart phone.
This instantaneous access to the Internet and information is pretty slick. (I suppose it says something about me that I seek enlightenment in as few clicks as possible.)
By the time I returned home, would I have still been wondering about the big duck enough to fire up my computer and search the sculpture’s genesis?
That’s why I’m convinced there will be even more galaxy-like matrixes on entries when ArtPrize returns Sept. 24 to Oct. 12. It’s also why I’m pleased to see QR codes on more and more school communications.
“How does that thing work?” my friend asked me, obviously dazzled.
At the time, my answer was feeble. I didn’t know enough about the technology behind QR codes to explain it. So, I looked it up so I could share it with her, and you.
So what are they?
Quick Response (QR) codes are black-and-white barcodes that can be scanned and read in an instant with an Internet connection.
This technology (Google Goggles, NeoReader, iMatrix, Bee Tag) is pretty standard on mobile communication devices, but you can install software like QuickMark to allow the webcam on your desktop computer to read QR codes, too.
No need to fuss with alignment. The detection pattern can be read horizontally and vertically.
QR codes were developed in 1994 by Denso Wave, a division of Toyota, to track automotive components during the manufacture process.
Denso Wave wasn’t interested in profiting from the technology. Code generators and readers can be downloaded at no cost. Because the technology is free, it has spread like wildfire to government, marketing and education.