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JoAnna Lou
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Technology for Lost Dogs
ID tags with QR codes bring pets home

Little black and white squares have been popping up everywhere—on advertisements, business cards and magazines. These Quick Response (QR) codes are barcodes that are designed to be read by smartphones. People can take a photo of the square and retrieve text, contact information or open a webpage on their phone.

Now these QR codes can help bring your dog home. A new company, PetHub, engraves QR codes on identification tags. When the square is scanned, it takes the user to the PetHub web site where the pets' information is stored.

The idea for PetHub was born when founder, Tom Arnold, was on vacation. The former Microsoft employee was worried about his dog at home and thought that technology could help keep his pup safe.

QR codes certainly look cool hanging from dog collars, but I wouldn't use it as a sole form of identification. Not everyone has a smartphone and even for those who do, the code creates one additional step to getting the information needed.

However, QR codes do have their advantages. Information can be updated instantly through the PetHub web site, which is useful if you go on vacation. You can store more data, like medical information, which wouldn't fit on a traditional identification tag.

Would you get a QR identification tag?

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JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.

Photo by King/5 News.

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