Today visual codes like the QR ("Quick Response") codes are everywhere: printed on the packaging, on business cards or included on presentations at conferences. Companies use them to store and distribute all kinds of information in a manner that is quickly accessible to anyone with a smartphone.
A Spanish university has developed a device to create visual codes (e.g., QR code) made up of overlapping layers of information: a static information layer with a fixed graphic impression, and one or more dynamic information layers with a changing graphic impression.
For making smart sensors, the dynamic layers contain some chemical and/or biochemical compounds (such as enzymes or antibodies). These compounds produce colorimetric changes depending on the environmental conditions or the presence of external agents.
Upon optical recognition of the visual code, if a color change occurs in the dynamic layer, an error is generated that is detected by the error correction algorithm and interpreted with a predetermined meaning. In this way, the device makes it possible to interpret and provide information according to whether external chemical or biological agents are detected.
The university is looking for partners from companies related to the development of smart packaging for medical and/or food industries, as well as companies that develop in vitro diagnostic tests, interested in licensing this technology.