By Stephen Bryen
CEO SDB Partners LLC
Last November I made a modest proposal for putting QR Codes on a person’s body –something I called an R-Too (from the Star War’s robot). With vacation-time approaching, considering removable QR Codes on children could be a life saver.
Many years ago, when I was seven years old and my brother Bob was five, we went to Atlantic City for a week’s vacation. I don’t know how it happened but my little brother wandered off. In those days (we are talking over 50 years ago) there were no cell phones, or call forwarding. So when my brother was found by some life guards about a mile up the beach, Bob could tell them where he lived, but that was not of much help since we were all away at the sea shore. There were no message machines then, and Bob did not have any information to offer. After about five hours of frantic searching, we finally reached the inlet in North Atlantic city and found my brother, happily supplied with ice cream by the Life Guards. He was happy –my mother was frantic and near collapse by then.
A QR code can contain lots of information so in case of a child wandering off or getting lost, his parents can be quickly found.
Since I wrote my article last November, you can now buy decal paper for an inkjet or laser printer for a few dollars, and there are a number of free QR Code generating services on the Web where you can quickly churn out a bar code that can contain your kid’s name, your mobile phone number, your email and anything else you want to put there. You generate the code, print it on the special decal paper and transfer the design to your kid’s arm or leg. It will last a few days and you can bring extra copies with you to replace one that faded too much.
Maybe it will seem silly, but today’s world is a lot more complicated than when I grew up. In those days we trusted people and we did not lock our house. No one worried about kids being out on the street at night. Today everything is faster, more uncertain, and –yes- dangerous.
So do yourself and your young children a favor, particularly in the vacation period when you are away from home. Consider sticking a QR code (an R-Too) on them.
My article from last November is below.
Have a WONDERFUL and SAFE vacation.
IT IS TIME FOR R-TOOS™
by Stephen D. Bryen
Sponsored by SDB Partners (http://www.sdb-partners.com)
QR CODES – square barcodes that store information – are all around us. Scanned by equally ubiquitous smart phones, you find QR CODES on bus advertising, t-shirts, business cards, catalogues and grocery store shelves. The data links and Internet connections are fast and easy, linking consumers to consumer information.
That makes this a great time for R-Toos™.
Not an actual tattoo or a small “Star Wars” robot, an R-Too™ is a wearable, semi-permanent tattoo of a QR CODE that would link to a cloud connection with information you want to share. Your R-Too™ could be linked to your company’s homepage, your social networking page, your phone number, e-mail address or other information. You choose what you put on the cloud – meaning, as with all exposed information, that you have to choose wisely.
An R-Too™ can be applied to your head, arm or other body part using a machine or transfer for semi-permanent ink or henna. If the right definition can be achieved, an R-Too™ can be a real tattoo – the design would then be permanent, only the information on the cloud would change. The medium doesn’t matter; what matters is that people will have a quick way to communicate the way people like to do now – by playing with their smart phones.
R-Toos™ are a great idea because in modern society, sharing information in useable bits is what we do – social, business, educational.
If you want a practical application, consider child security. There are parents who implant chips in their children as an identification measure – if the child is lost or kidnapped, the chip provides definitive information. It seems a little bit radical, however, and the chip can only be read by the limited number of people with special equipment – and that’s only if the child remembers to tell someone that its there. On the other hand, if a family on vacation is concerned that a child might wander off at the beach, a henna R-Too™ connected to the parents’ cell phone number would be useful. Any person with a smart phone could scan the R-Too™ and reunite child and parent.
Many cultures have worn “scan-able” codes for centuries. Consider the Tilaka of India. The Tilaka is a mark or marks worn on the forehead or other parts of the body, composed of different colors, providing information about a person’s religion, caste, marital status, etc. Tilaka marks can be removed or changed, and they have this in common with the R-Too™.
What the Tilaka and other cultural body art cannot do is provide information beyond what an observer can see. You cannot get someone’s email address, personal web page, or opinion about the state of the world from the equivalent of a Tilaka. The R-Too™ provides a nearly infinite resource.
So let the R-Too™ frenzy begin.