DENSO receives IEEE Corporate Innovation Award for inventing QR Code

The institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. (IEEE) honoured DENSO for developing and spreading the use of the QR Code.

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. (IEEE), headquartered in the United States, is the world’s largest engineering academy with more than 400,000 members in more than 160 countries. As the largest international association for electrical and electronic engineering, it has now given the IEEE Corporate Innovation Award to DENSO for developing the QR Code and spreading its use globally.
The IEEE Corporate Innovation Award, one of the most prestigious technical awards in the world, is presented to organizations that have made a significant global impact with innovative technologies and products – such as the QR Code – and contributed to the development of electrical and electronic engineering. Established by IEEE in 1985, the IEEE Corporate Innovation Award has been presented to leading companies and organizations worldwide. DENSO has become the sixth Japanese company to receive this recognition.

The QR Code was developed in 1994 by Masahiro Hara and DENSO’s applied equipment engineering section, currently DENSO WAVE, as an easy-to-read code that can store a large amount of information, which is helpful in sectors like production, retail, logistics, transportation, and healthcare.

The innovative two-dimensional QR Code can store about 200 times more information than barcodes and can be read at high speed, for example with handhelds, scanners, and mobile computers from DENSO. The employees at DENSO started to use the QR Code mainly for inventory management at its manufacturing plants. DENSO later made the patent available free of charge, enabling the QR Code to spread globally. In the early 2000s, the QR Code became familiar to the general public in line with the growing use of mobile phones equipped with cameras. Today, the QR Code is widely used in many daily life applications, including electronic tickets and cashless payments.

In 2020, the QR Code was recognized as an IEEE Milestone for its outstanding contribution. An IEEE Milestone commends a historic achievement which has greatly assisted the development of society and industry in electrical and electronic engineering.

Even 28 years after it was invented, the QR Code continues to evolve with the addition of new functions. DENSO WAVE developed the Secure QR Code (SQRC®), which can carry two types of data – public and private – in a single code. Furthermore, face authentication with the SQRC® was developed by DENSO. The QR Code Face Recognition can turn facial feature points into a QR Code. And yet another QR Code model, the Frame QR Code, offers design flexibility and individuality. The QR Code from DENSO is contributing to personal identification, the prevention of counterfeiting and information falsification, as well as the generation of electronic tickets. DENSO remains committed to developing innovative technologies that contribute to society and industry.


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