QR codes are certainly practical, but they're also dumb and stupid and ugly and instantly ruin almost anything they're placed on. That's why this tech that uses simple light as a replacement for QR codes is so awesome.
The idea comes from Fujistu, and it's pretty darn simple: replace QR codes with a LED lightbulb. The bulb is pointed at whatever object you want to be recognised by a smartphone, and the bulb fluctuates between emitting red and blue light at high speeds — so it appears to just be white light to human eyes, but spells out a binary message for the smartphone pointed at it. The system can even be calibrated for any change caused by the object it's pointed at.
Not only does that mean no more ugly QR codes defacing subway posters, but in theory, it also means the link that the QR code sends your phone to can be changed easily. That would make the system far more useful than those stupid QR codes. Did I mention how great it would be if we could kill those off? [Gizmag]