Happy 20th birthday, QR code!

August 8 is not just the day inventor Masahiro Haras was born – it is also the official birthday of his brainchild the QR code.


Taking two years to develop a team of clever engineers perfected the invention of the QR Code, this was 20 years ago. An invention everyone is becoming familiar with today, and one we couldnt imagine being without. The two-dimensional Quick Response Code, the revolutionary successor of the unidimensional barcode, was originally intended simply for the cataloguing of vehicle parts for the automotive supplier Denso. Today, the QR code has many uses. Looking for event information, going shopping online, completing a mobile payment, finding out about products, looking for secrets, or are in need of “Lord’s prayer”. – All you need is a smartphone and the right app (QR de Code by Denso Wave) to connect the online and offline worlds.

The QR code has undergone plenty of additional development since 1994. In 2000, for example, the Mini QR code was introduced, a version of the QR code that could be reduced to a tiny format. Secure QR (SQRC) followed five years later, which was also patented by Denso. It contains both encrypted and unencrypted information, and is used in banking, where parts of the data content should not be accessible to third parties. Of particular interest to the marketing sector are the other new developments, LogoQ, LogoQ Motion, and Logo Pass. A plain black and white square is turned into an eye-catching design with an integrated logo or product.

Previous highlights of the jubilee year were the nomination for the European Inventor Prize 2014, which was awarded in Berlin in June. Masahiro Hara and his team at Denso Wave and Toyota Central RD Labs. won the Audience Price, the so-called Technology Oscar with a landslide vote of 30%. This success has made them the first Japanese winners of the European Inventor Prize in its nine-year history.

TTID is particularly proud of the fact that the inventor insisted on visiting the European subsidiary of his employer Denso Wave on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the QR code. Not only did we get a first-hand look at the Inventor Prize itself, we were also able to interview the man of the hour in relaxed surroundings, while enjoying some ice cream.

We want to congratulate the QR code and Masahiro Hara on their joint birthday, and are very much looking forward to the next 20 years of code development.