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Rio de Janeiro Brings QR Codes to the Streets

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It seems that QR codes embedded on the streets is quite the trend these days. Seoul in South Korea, for one, has started embedding QR codes on its pavements to guide tourists through its more notable districts.

And then there’s Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, which is famous for its beautiful sidewalk mosaics. However, these mosaics have taken on a different form lately: QR codes.

The South American capital fashioned the stones into these black-and-white matrix barcodes in order to help tourists or visitors find their way around the city.

Rio installed its first QR code at Arpoador, which is the huge boulder separating the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema. Pavers embedded the code into the sidewalk the way they did with the decorative waves and fish near it. This code can be scanned using a smartphone equipped with a QR code reader app. The scanner will then be taken to a mobile page with a map and tourist information, which includes historical facts, photos and tips. The info is available in three language options: English, Portuguese or Spanish.

The project, called the Project QRIO, is a public-private partnership between the Secretariat of Municipal Conservation, digital technology agency Zoio and PR firm Grupo Maquina.

According to the Department of Conservation, it intends to implement the Project QRIO at 30 locations in the city by the end of 2013 and at 50 locations by July next year. Rio is set to host the FIFA World Cup in July 2014.

Each stone code takes about seven days to complete, reportedly, due to the level of precision it needs to scan successfully. Some future iterations may be constructed out of other recycled materials. The next four street QR codes are expected by March at Sao Conrado Beach, Mirante do Leblon, Redra do Leme, and Pepe Beach in Barra da Tijuca.

Marcus Melchior, the municipal secretary of conservation, told Epoch Times that Project QRIO will disseminate knowledge and culture for both Brazilian citizens and tourists and that there is a great possibility for the project to expand.

Melchior said that the QR codes could be used not only at tourist spots or attractions, but also for major town events.

A recent study conducted by MasterCard found that Rio was the world’s most up-and-coming destination city for international travellers. And Rio has been growing its global importance exponentially to cultivate this reputation. For one, the city hosted the Rio+20 Earth Summit in 2012 and will host the World Cup next year. It is also gearing up to welcome the world to the Olympic Games in 2016.

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