I started work on an encoding scheme similar to QR, trying to arrive to something more usable and memorable by humans. I've been failing at it so far, but I noticed that (to me) some experiments had some aesthetic potential.

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So this is the artistic detour I took in the meantime,.
I started from the very abstract initial language, and gradually shifted to pop, in styles reminiscent from Keith Haring to Cy Twombly.

I intend to eventually take some of these sketches to canvas or carton in a larger size.


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@h interesting concept. reminds me of save codes from old megaman games, which were a similar idea: convey N bits of information in a way that players can remember and recreate

@chr That was the initial intent. Now I'm moving to something more interesting, borowing from medieval heraldry.

@chr Besides, a few billion people carry a camera with them at all times. So, keeping a visual memory of a code is something thathas become less of a exclusionary method these days.

If you ask anyone to keep a text file in their mobile, few people will be prepared to do that. If you ask them to keep an image, most people can do that.

@chr Most QR vodes are visually indistinct to most humans. Heraldic codes, on the other hand, have done a rather good job as identifiers for a thousand years.

@chr Think, three white ducks on a red field, and three yellow ducks on a green field. May need a few bits more of density, but it's a good start, I believe.
As for learning how to read them, the difficulty wouldn't be too different from the visual codes of a row in a casino slot machine.

@h Reminds me of Microsoft's Tag[1] (or HCCB, depending on your terminology). Unfortunately, theirs combined all the human-readability of a standard 2D barcode with all the longevity of a shortcode service run by a company with a short attention span (started ~2007, dead about 8 years later). (Also somewhat related to hash visualization[2]: not something most people can *produce*, but intended to be recognizable from memory.)

1: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Cap
2: users.ece.cmu.edu/~adrian/proj among others.

@aschmitz I did study precedents, MS included, and it's stiking to me how we haven't come up with anything better yet.

@h It's almost as if written text is not *super* inefficient for humans and we're used to remembering it. 😉​

I think there's lots of room for improvement on QR codes if you want to make them recognizable, but it's hard for most people to successfully draw a bike, much less a sigil they've only stared at for a few minutes (or, likely, less).

(None of which is to say that it's not worth trying, or that it's uninteresting to see your results so far, which are neat.)

@aschmitz The way I started was really misguided and doomed to failure as a QR-like code. But this artistic detour gave me a few ideas, borrowing from the old and rather archaic field of study of medieval heraldry.

Think of it, three golden lions on a field of azure is a pretty recognisabke identifier that has already worked well for a thousand years.

@h Sure, but there aren't all too many bits you can memorably encode that way. Could still work if you were willing to centralize things, but then you get the CueCat / MS Tag problem when it shuts down.

Still, a cybre coat of arms for everyone would be entertaining.

@aschmitz I think such a code could have some merit in generating memorable passwords that aren't in dictionaries. You're right that the amount of encoded information would hardly make it enough to be of any use as a QR like code. A rather long stretch to be sure.
But I've also been studying the information density of playing cards and other rather old systems that could be repurposed.
If anything, it's a very interesting anthropological voyage, and it has already paid off to me with some art

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