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The Traveller's Magazine
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Rio de Janeiro is revamping some of its traditional mosaics to bring them up to date with the twenty-first century. The city is installing QR codes so that tourists can get up-to-date information from the city’s black and white mosaic sidewalks.

Rio is famous for its traditional mosaic sidewalks and we’re loving the way the city is taking that a step further by tiling QR codes into their designs. One of these two-dimensional bar codes, called QR codes, was installed at Arpoador, at the end of Ipanema beach last week. The city used the same tiles to create the bar codes as are used in the mosaic designs that can be found around the city.

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How do they work?

First thing you’ll need to have is a QR reader on your phone. If you have an iPhone, just search among the free apps for a QR reader. Then all you need to do is photograph the bar code so the app can read it and you’ll be taken to a website with local tourist information, fun facts about the location in Spanish, English and Portuguese,  plus a map of the area.

Rio de Janeiro has 30 of these techy installations planned for the city around the beaches, viewing points and historical spots so that visitors and locals alike can learn more about the city as they explore on foot. The interactive maps will also help them find out where they are and what other points of interest are nearby. It’s a great way to mix tradition with technology and so far has been a success. Many are stopping out of curiosity to see what the codes reveal.

One passerby, Raul Oliveira Neto, who used his smartphone to read the information at Ipanema beach said,

“We use to much technology to pass information, this makes sense.”

We give this idea two thumbs up. It’s stylish and uses traditional techniques to provide information in a whole new way. Forget tourist information boards, this is an idea that is sure to be picked up by other cities and countries around the world.

Img: Grupo Maquina / Flickr.

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