Edible QR Code Could Be The Medicine Of The Future


QR code, or Quick Response code, was first designed for the automotive industry in Japan. Released in 1994, it became widespread among the general public in Japan by 2002.

Inventors of the QR code system, the Japanese company Denso Wave, have an entire website dedicated to it, QRcode.com.

As stated on the website, QR code is used in a variety of applications, such as manufacturing, sales, and logistics. It has also found its way into our everyday lives – it is often printed on paperbacks, for example.

Its specifications are publicly available and anyone can create and print a QR code. Quick Response code can store binary data and most mobile phones can read it.

According to a study published on the University of Copenhagen Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences’ official website, QR code might soon find its way into medicine.

Researchers from the University of Copenhagen together with colleagues from Åbo Akademi University in Finland have developed a new method for the production of medicine: edible QR code. Edible QR code consisting of a medical drug could personalize medicine and reduce cases of wrong medication, researchers argue.

Our knowledge about medicine has been constantly evolving, but the methods for production haven’t. We have not yet moved away from mass production to mass personalization, but QR codes can enable us to do just that, researchers claim.

university of copenhagen study qr code medicine
Featured image credit: Olexander ZahozhyyShutterstock

They have developed a new method for the production of medicine. They produce a white, edible material and print a QR code consisting of a medical drug on it. This means medication can be altered and dosed exactly the way you want.

As Natalja Genina, assistant professor at the Department of Pharmacy, said, “This technology is promising because the medical drug can be dosed exactly the way you want it to. This gives an opportunity to tailor the medication according to the patient getting it.”

Apart from this, QR code enables data storage in the medicine or the “pill,” so to speak, itself. By simply doing a quick scan of the QR code, one could get all the needed information about any given pharmaceutical product. This could, researchers assert, reduce cases of wrong medication, among other things.

They are currently working to refine the methods for this sort of medical production, but professor Jukka Rantanen thinks Quick Response code technology could be a chance to personalize medication, forever changing and redefining the entire supply chain.

“If we are successful with applying this production method to relatively simple printers, then it can enable the innovative production of personalized medicine and rethinking of the whole supply chain,” concluded professor Rantanen.