Posted: Dec 11, 2020
The eureka moment that helped Masahiro Hara perfect the Quick Response, or QR code, sprang from a lunchtime game of Go more than a quarter of a century ago.
He was playing the ancient game of strategy at work when the stones arranged on the board revealed the solution to a problem troubling the firm’s clients in Japan’s car industry – and which is now being repurposed as a weapon in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
As an employee of the automotive components firm Denso Wave, Hara had been fielding requests from factories to come up with a better way to manage their inventories of an ever-expanding range of parts.
Workers wanted a less labour-intensive way to store more information, including kana and kanji characters, but the barcodes then in use could hold only 20 or so alphanumeric characters of information each. In some cases, a single box of components carried as many as 10 barcodes that had to be read individually.
Having helped develop a barcode reader in the early 1980s, Hara knew the method had its limitations. “Having to read so many barcodes in a day was very inefficient, and workers were tired of scanning boxes multiple times,” Hara, now a chief engineer at the company, said in an online interview from its headquarters in Aichi prefecture, central Japan.
By Justin McCurry
Source and complete article by: theguardian.com
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