Code-makers bring images to life

November 2nd, 2014

A new spin-out company from the University is promising to transform the way we digitally interact with products and services by developing the next generation of easier-on-the-eye QR codes.

Aestheticodes has evolved out of a joint project between designers and computer scientists at the University’s Horizon Digital Economy Research Institute.

The company is aiming to revolutionise embedded computer codes which allow the user to access content digitally via their smart device. It designs beautiful images and encodes them, resulting in the same interactivity of a QR code, while offering a more engaging and playful experience.

The technology offers businesses the opportunity for on-brand visual interaction for products, packaging and services and could offer users interaction at museums, galleries and public spaces.

An app can be downloaded on to a smart device and used to scan the aestheticode — the app does not recognise the image but scans its topography.

Richard Mortier, a Transitional Fellow at Horizon, said: “Here we allow everyday objects to become more interactive without compromising on their aesthetics. Graphic designers have produced a wide range of visually appealing motifs and patterns that can be used to trigger delivery of different information depending on the design and the app that reads it – for example, pointing your smartphone at the pattern on a restaurant menu could give you information on that day’s special.”

Aestheticodes offers programming, app development and graphic design services and can produce a full bespoke branding and interactivity service.

The research underpinning the company was conducted with academic partners Central Saint Martins and Brunel University and commercial partner Busaba Eathai.

The researchers are continuing to develop the technology through Horizon, where they are working with ceramic designers to explore the creation of ceramic shapes, patterns and textures that are both aesthetically pleasing and digitally trackable.

Find out more on the company at

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