QR codes can be a useful way to direct you to reams of information about something, but half the time it seems like they are just technology being used for technology's sake. Nothing makes that point more elegantly than this QR code clock.
Instead of just displaying the time on its LED matrix, the clock flashes a QR code which you need to scan with your smartphone. Once you decode the information with an app, the time of day will finally be revealed. Of course the phone can also display the time, but that wouldn't seem nearly as high-tech as having to decode the fancy QR code.
Designer Michael Ciuffo built the QR Clock simply to point out the silliness of most QR codes. Why force people to pull out their phone to read something, when you could simply print that information in the same spot? Ciuffo feels that QR codes are being kept alive by marketing people, who want to justify their paychecks by giving their customers high-tech solutions to non-existent problems.
Designing the QR clock's circuitry and turning it into a working product was far from simple, and Ciuffo gives a full rundown of what was involved over on his blog. He did make a few extra boards so if you're really interested in making your life more complicated, perhaps you can talk him into building one for you.
Check out the video to see the QR clock in use. Note that Ciuffo's phone shows you the time well before he goes through the process of getting the decoded QR code version.