A QR code in the wild. Image by Flickr user PicPinky
Link to the web from the real world. No typing required.
QR codes (QR stands for "quick response") have been taking off in part because of the popularity of smart phones and tablets, but also because they are an easy way to link the "real" world with the "virtual." Just point your phone's camera at a QR code posted in the real world, click a button, and your phone's browser will open up an associated webpage.
QR codes @ Wheaton
The best example of the creative use of QR codes at Wheaton is the student-curated 100 Years, 100 Objects exhibit in the Beard and Weil Galleries in late 2012/early 2013.
Placing QR codes alongside the exhibit objects allowed Leah Niederstadt and her students an elegant way to make podcasts part of the visitor experience. Using their smartphones, visitors snapped pictures of the QR codes, which opened the audio files right on those same devices. The podcasts, produced by the students themselves, were a highlight for many visitors.
How does it work?
A URL (web link) is embedded in the image so that when using a device with a camera and the correct scanning application (there are several apps freely available -- see "more info" in the sidebar), it will open a web page, contact information, image, multimedia file or a PDF.
To make a QR code you can use any of the free online QR Code generators--R&I likes Kaywa.com, but there are many other options. Put in the link and it will generate a QR Code that can be put on pretty much any item you can imagine.
Cheap (free), easy to create, and applicable to a wide array of uses — don’t expect QR codes to go away anytime soon!