QR code Summer Project 2009 from Sinap Co.

Yet another innovative idea coming from new directions in mcommerce and Japan when last week, Sinap Co Ltd. tested out the possibility if QR codes (a.k.a. binary codes) could be read digitally from a natural material like sand. Binary codes or QR codes are often used in Japanese advertising and retail whereby consumers simply scan over the code (like an ad in a magazine for example) and the mobile phone image technology can read the code and deliver information to the consumer about the product, price, directions to the store, and so on.

QR codes are also known as mobile tagging and store URLs that appear in mags, signs, buses, billboards, business cards, you name it. The Japanese use this technology often but it’s still a relatively new thing in North America. This act of linking from the physical world is also known as hardlinks.

In the Sinap Summer Project, they created a human-sized QR code on a beach about an hour outside of Tokyo made out of interlinked sand castles. Many people in the project recorded the “making-of” aspects including a clip on YouTube. So far, according to CScout Japan, some 400 people have responded and said that yes, their mobile phones could read the QR code.

Another cool aspect is that now, Sinap is working with the Nishihama Surf Lifesaving Club to help promote beach clean-ups, giving the sand castle project a strong ripple effect.

Space Invader tile street art in Paris

Many brands and retailers have been investigating more ways to reach people via binary code technology, and even street artists have gotten into the concept. For example in a story we ran last year about Space Invader, the legendary street artist from Paris who depicts video game characters, particularly old-school PacMan’s made in colorful tiles placed in discreet locations around the world. In the last few years, Invader has become so popular that his tile work has even been stolen straight off walls and sold on EBay. Like UK artist Banksy, Invader has a strong cult following around the world.

One of Space Invader’s new concepts combine the growing fascination among leading-edge street artists with technology. Invader explains that he’s creating now second messages behind the original tile artwork that can only be read by taking mobile phone images, particularly conducive to iPhone’s code Imatrix. In the video about his project, Invader talks about how tiles are a motif that works well within his aesthetic of hi-low art invading the world. He currently has pieces up in 40 different cities in 30 different countries.

His new work takes a deeper look at QR codes or binary codes whereby on the surface, you can’t really tell that a piece is saying something until you read it via a mobile phone image.

Right now, in America, the iPhone code Imatrix is the next thing on the radar to making mcommerce and QR code technology a reality for retailers, but also to be used in many other applications including advertising, personal identification, even street art.

For more information about Label Networks’ Digital Lifestyle Report 2009 or North American Youth Culture Study, email info@labelnetworks.com; (323) 630-4000.