Enlarge / An AI-generated image of an anime-style woman that also functions as a working QR code. If you have trouble reading it, try positioning your camera farther away from the image. (credit: nhciao / Stable Diffusion)
On Tuesday, a Reddit user named “nhciao” posted a series of artistic QR codes created using the Stable Diffusion AI image-synthesis model that can still be read as functional QR codes by smartphone camera apps. The functional pieces reflect artistic styles in anime and Asian art.
QR codes, short for Quick Response codes, are two-dimensional barcodes initially designed for the automotive industry in Japan. These codes have since found wide-ranging applications in various fields including advertising, product tracking, and digital payments, thanks to their ability to store a substantial amount of data. When scanned using a smartphone or a dedicated QR code scanner, the encoded information (which can be text, a website