QR Codes: the next step in geek couture

QR codes, or “Quick Response” codes, are a mechanism to codify data for quick recognition. They’ve been used in package tracking applications for some time, and apparently they’re hugely popular with mobile phone users in Japan. Snap a picture of a QR code with your phone’s camera, and your phone can then decode the info and do something useful — usually load up a URL contained within the code to alleviate the tedium of typing. Now an Austrian company plans to put QR codes on fashion accessories!

Fluid Forms is a custom fabrication company, not unlike Shapeways. Fluid Forms lets you make lamps and fruit bowls from topographical maps. What better way to announce your geekdom than to have a fruit bowl that represents the topography of your favorite place on earth? Now we know the answer: to wear a belt buckle formed from a QR code!

On Wednesday, May 27, Fluid Forms will let you design your own belt buckle from a custom QR code. I can already see hordes of Japanese people pointing their mobile phone cameras toward my crotch in order to decode the message on my belt buckle. What a thrill! To complete the QR accessory extravaganza, Fluid Forms will be rolling out a ring, a brooch and cufflinks you can customize with QR codes.

All kidding aside, I can see several useful opportunities for this kind of thing. Do away with business cards at a geek conference, and just encode your contact info into a QR ring or brooch. Let people who want to contact you decode the QR code. This could also be used in a pretty clever cyberpunk LARP. And the cufflinks might be a nice way to flaunt your geek cred while forced to wear a monkeysuit at some fancypants fundraising event.

These things probably won’t make a good gift for mom, dad, or that cute girl across from you at Starbucks, though.