This giant QR code needs regular pruning to keep it scannable

giant qr code made of trees china 1
Xinhua
Promoting your local area to attract tourists from across the country is clearly a tricky proposition for some Chinese cities, with one turning to the humble QR code in a bid to boost its profile.

No, it hasn’t placed thousands of the codes in national newspapers and magazines that link to a website showing off what it has to offer, nor has it stuck them on billboards in the hope that a passing person will scan it with their smartphone.

Instead, officials in Xilinshui village in the city of Baoding, about 60 miles southwest of Beijing, have created a living, growing QR code consisting of around 130,000 juniper trees, the South China Morning Post reported.giant qr code made of trees china 2

Running nearly 230 meters along each side, its designers hope that folks flying overhead on their way to and from the capital will spot the giant QR code, whip out their smartphone, and scan it to find out what on earth it’s all about. And then, perhaps, pay the place a visit.

QR codes are used a lot in China, so Xilinshui officials hope that when people see its effort from up high, their automatic reaction will be to grab their phone to quickly scan it … though it does, of course, need a cloudless sky for the code to get proper exposure.

While some commentators have noted that a regular photograph of the code is hard to scan, Mashable found that a brightened image does the trick, taking you straight to Xilinshui’s official Chinese-language tourism page on WeChat, the country’s hugely popular messaging app.

It’s not clear how many window-seat airline passengers have been scanning the code, but the global publicity generated from the mere existence of the unusual code will no doubt have put a smile of satisfaction on the faces of the local officials who dreamed up the initiative.

QR codes have been around for years. Their popularity in the West has fluctuated, where they have yet to take off in the same way as they have in China. However, Apple appears to believe there’s life in the ol’ blocky black-and-white images yet, with iOS 11 — the latest version of its mobile operating system that launches on September 19 — incorporating a QR code scanner for the first time.

Photography

After controversial video, China bans ‘Leica’ on social media

A video that referenced Tiananmen Square got the name of the camera company Leica banned from the social media platform Weibo. Leica says the video wasn't an officially sanctioned promotion.
Smart Home

I have seen the future, and it’s full of salad-making robots

Think that robots bussing tables, tossing salads and baking bread is a futuristic concept? It's actually not as far away as you might think. Robots took center stage at a food robotics summit in San Francisco this week, where they showed…
Mobile

Selfies are now banned at China’s gigantic Aperture Spherical Telescope

You can't take a selfie with the world's largest single-dish radio telescope anymore, as the Chinese government has banned everything from smartphones to digital cameras in the surrounding 5-kilometer area.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Android

The dramatic BlackBerry Key2 Red Edition is now available in the U.S.

BlackBerry's Key2 is likely to be the best keyboard-equipped phone in 2019, with a modern look, some powerful specs, and totally revamped features. Here's everything you need to know about it.
Computing

Want to make calls across the internet for less? Try these great VOIP services

Voice over IP services are getting more and more popular, but there are still a few that stand above the pack. In this guide, we'll give you a few options for the best VOIP services for home and business users.
Deals

Apple iPads and iPad Pros get price cuts up to $150 on Amazon

In the market for a new iPad? Now might be the time to buy -- Amazon has discounted a range of iPad models, including the 10.5-inch, 11-inch, and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models, plus the standard iPad.
Mobile

The Best iPhone 7 battery cases to give your phone some extra juice

The iPhone 7 doesn't have terrible battery life, but you never know when you'll need to juice up on the go. To help, here are the best iPhone 7 battery cases that can keep your smartphone charged and ready for long-term use.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Samsung Galaxy Fold woes, zombie pigs, and more

Today's topics: Samsung Galaxy Fold, Facebook A.I. voice assistants, YouTube comes to Fire TV, facial recognition on airline flights, the SpaceX DART program, Yale's zombie pigs, and much more!
Mobile

Samsung Galaxy S10 update gives manual control of Bright Night mode

Samsung 2019 flagship smartphone lineup is here, and there aren't just two phones as usual — there are four. There's the Galaxy S10, S10 Plus, as well as a new entry called the S10e, as well as the Galaxy S10 5G.
Deals

The excellent Moto G6 is just $99 from Google Fi for a limited time

Getting a cheap smartphone can be a great way to squeeze value out of your dollars. Motorola's Moto G-range has always been good value, but never better than this: Get the Moto G6 for just $99 from Google Fi.
Mobile

Keep your huge phone beautiful with the best iPhone XS Max cases

Apple's iPhone XS Max might be the best large phone the company has ever released. But a bigger OLED display and body means there's more glass to crack. Keep your massive phone safe with the best iPhone XS Max cases.
Deals

Ultra Wideband is here, and you can use it with the 5G Moto Mod (and save $150)

5G is rolling out in the U.S., and Motorola’s Moto Z3 is one of the few phones that can use it. Select people can take advantage of Verizon’s 5G service and enjoy a $150 discount with the purchase of a Moto Z3 and 5G Moto Mod bundle.
Deals

The best Amazon Prime Day 2019 deals: Everything you need to know

Amazon Prime Day 2019 is still a few months off, but it's never too early to start preparing. We've been taking a look at the best discounts from previous Prime Days to give you our predictions of what to expect this year.