Tag: qr codes research

QR codes help Swiss researchers to study ants

QR Codes Ants StudyBarcoded insects were followed with a computer to better understand their social structure.

The results of a recent study from researchers at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland have just been released, revealing a very unique use for QR codes, a form of barcode that is typically seen on product labels and in print advertising, not on the backs of insects.

A colony of ants had its members labeled so that their behaviors could be accurately tracked.

The research started with the application of QR codes to the backs of over one hundred ants within a lab. The paper containing the results of the study were published in the journal called Science. Within it, the Swiss researchers detailed their 41 days of tracking of the lives of the individual ants so that they could develop a better understanding of their social structure.

This is quite a unique use for QR codes, but is a part of an increasing trend to apply it to alternate uses.

The research used the QR codes to generate more than 2.4 billion readings, which produced a record of over 9.4 million different interactions among the ant colony members. When analyzed through a computer, it revealed that up to 40 percent of the worker ants had the specific activity of caring for the queen of the colony, as well as her babies that had just recently been born. Another 30 percent of the colony’s workers were recorded to have been responsible for colony housecleaning. The remaining 30 percent foraged for food to feed all of the ants.

What the QR codes allowed the researchers to determine was the progress of an individual ant’s life. They discovered through the barcodes that any single ant did not necessarily keep the same job throughout its entire lifetime. They progress from one task to the next as they age. Though the typical progression was from caretaker of the queen and her offspring, to cleaner, to forager for food, there was deviation among this trend as there were younger ants who foraged and older ones who were caretakers.

Without the QR codes, the researchers did not have any other way to examine the individual lives and social interactions of the ants. This way, they could monitor what they individuals did throughout their lives instead of watching the colony as a whole.

QR codes research findings provide best practices for success

Ohio University QR codes researchAn Ohio University professor from the Automatic Information and Data Capture lab is studying scans.

The use of QR codes as an element of mobile marketing has generated considerable controversy as some companies have used them highly successfully, while others have experienced nothing but failures.

It has led some, perhaps prematurely, to write off the potential of these smartphone friendly barcodes.

The director of the Automatic Information and Data Capture lab, a professor named Kevin Berisso at Ohio University, has been examining the use of QR codes and many campaigns in which they have been included, and is now using this ongoing project to assist mobile marketers in developing campaigns that will allow them to get the most out of these barcodes.

The findings that Berisso has produced includes recommendations for the best use of QR codes.

To start, Berisso has pointed out that it is important to make sure that if QR codes are chosen as a part of a marketing campaign, that this is done only when the right audience will be targeted. This is because there are certain people who are more likely to make scans than others. For one thing, the barcodes require smartphones in order to be scanned. Those within the age group of 18 to 29 years have a 66 percent likelihood of owning the right type of device. However, those in the 50 to 64 year old age group are far less likely, at 34 percent.

Moreover, Berisso also found that QR codes that are used in a way that tells smartphone users precisely why they want to scan – to receive a discount, to enter a contest, to receive a free offer, etc – are more likely to be scanned and produce results than those that simply lead to a homepage without a specific benefit to the user.

The actual quality of the QR codes in terms of the ability to scan them was also identified as highly important. The correction level needs to be appropriate, but so is the contrast and distinction. Basic black and white are typically best, as they produce the most contrast. Berisso cautioned mobile marketers against using rich black on color ads, as they will make the codes far more difficult to scan – even if they are more appealing to the eye.

The research regarding the use of QR codes is continuing, and the labs are producing lists of helpful recommendations. Primarily it involves being practical and using good common sense.