Can a QR Code Be Rotated? - Feb 2017
Yes, A QR Code is omnidirectional and can be viewed / scanned any way around. The QR Codes themselves include position detection patterns (a Finder Patterns) which helps the scanner identify the correct orientation for the image. Take a look at the following 3 QR Codes. This is the same code rotated 90 degrees each time. You can try scanning them straight off the screen.
Each QR Code has 3 finder patterns that can be seen as large squares with a smaller solid square within. These are located in 3 corners of the QR Code. The 4th corner doesn't have a finder pattern and instead has an alignment pattern. This design allows the scanner to determine the correct way to process the image (the corner with the alignment pattern is always the bottom right corner) allowing the scanner to effectively undo any rotation.
The finder patterns allow the reader to undo any rotation, but the reader also needs to locate the QR Code in the first place. When QR Codes were being developed, a lot of research went into the least likely combination of colours and ratios that occur in normal print (magazines, newspapers etc. These ratios were then used to define how the finder patterns should look, (the values used are This ratio was 1:1:3:1:1). Ensuring the most distinctive and unique combination helps a QR Code scanner quickly locate a QR Code against any background and determine its boundaries and orientation.
The finder patterns and alignment patterns have been coloured red and the alignment patters green in all image on this page to help identify them. It's worth noting that the alignment pattern is no included when QR Codes are encoded at level 1 (the smallest size QR Code). Also as QR Codes expand to include more and more data, they may include more finder and alignment patterns.
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