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The Resurgence of QR Codes In 2023

You may or may not know this, but QR codes were initially created in 1994, quickly fading away into obscurity before enjoying a brief resurgence in 2010 and disappearing again for the most part.

The idea behind QR codes was solid, but unfortunately for QR codes, they were a little ahead of the technological curve and quickly fell back into obscurity.

However, after the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, QR codes have come roaring back into our lives. Let’s look at the history of QR codes, where they came from, where they’re going, and how they’re making big waves in some communities.

What Is A QR Code?

A QR code on a smartphone, laying on a laptop keyboard

Short for Quick Response Code, QR codes are two-dimensional barcodes that can send you directly to a URL. The URL could be to a website address, landing page, PDF, social media application, or even discount code. Any digital media hosted online could have a QR code made available.

QR Codes utilize a pattern of dots, shapes, and white space, which can be translated into easily readable information once a smartphone’s camera scans.

The Original Rise and Fall of QR Codes

When QR codes first entered our lives, it was a different time. How many people do you think had smartphones back in 1994? However, fast forward to 2010, and the number of people accessing smartphones and mobile data has increased significantly.

You think the QR code would have flourished at this point, but in a world craving convenience and shortcuts, the QR code was still missing the mark for some reason.

QR code being scanned at business

While some companies had seen success incorporating QR codes into their business models, a large percentage of the population still had no idea what a QR code was or how it worked. For example, a 2012 study found 97% of consumers had no idea what a QR code was, and even those that knew what it was didn’t know how to use it.

The whole idea behind QR codes was to make consumers’ lives easier. However, having to download and use a separate app just to scan the QR code added more work than just searching for whatever you wanted to find.

QR Codes Are Back

So, what have we learned about QR codes? The technology is solid. They work perfectly, so what took them so long to take off? The biggest issue with QR codes was that they were just ahead of their time. They were a few years too early, and consumers and the technology they used weren’t ready for them.

Man scanning QR code

However, the world has changed a lot in 30 years, and now, more than ever, QR codes are making a significant resurgence. This is largely thanks to the technology used to read them. Now, you can scan a QR Code with your smartphone camera and have that link open up automatically. No need for a QR code reading app or any extra steps.

Menus, promotions, health and safety information, and medical information are just some of the ways that QR codes are being used. For example, during the recent pandemic, it was all about passing on the right information to people quickly and efficiently while reducing the risk of contact spread.

QR codes enabled people to get access to every piece of information they needed and fill out forms, all without having to touch pens, tablets, or paperwork keeping the entire transaction touchless, thus reducing the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Laxxon's QR code printed tablets

Now, QR codes are being used more than ever. One way that Laxxon Medical uses QR codes is by printing them directly onto medication. You can read more about the 3D printing process Laxxon Medical uses here.

One important role that 3D-printed pharmaceuticals with QR codes play is that of safety and security. While it may not affect you directly, counterfeit medicine is big business, and it’s infiltrating regular medication shipments and distribution. Counterfeit medication is even finding its way into legitimate pharmacies, where it’s passed onto consumers as a legitimate product.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that 10% of global pharmaceutical commerce, or $21 billion worth, involves counterfeit drugs.

Printing QR codes directly onto pills which consumers can then scan, ensure that consumers are getting legitimate products directly from the manufacturer and not counterfeit medications. It also adds the ability for governments and agencies to track shipments of medication from the point of manufacture all the way to distribution and sale.

Also, the manufacturer can include any information that they feel can be helpful to the user. The linked URL can contain information about the effects, side effects, dosage instructions, contact information, and ingredients of the medication.

Imagine you could scan a pill with your smartphone and access all that information even if you don’t have the original packaging. That’s what QR codes can do!

While they may have had a turbulent past, it’s safe to say that QR codes are back and being used more widely than ever before for even better reasons than you could possibly imagine.


Laxxon Medical is dedicated to engineering patented 3D pharmaceutical solutions which optimize products and benefit patients. Our goal is to establish SPID®-Technology as a manufacturing process that has the individual and the pharmaceutical partner in mind.

To keep up to date with SPID®-Technology and Laxxon Medical news and announcements, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.


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