Velcro-Backed Commando Nerd Patches: The Project!


The post to the Big Blog caught me flatfooted, but the store is now up. Read about the patches, try scanning and configuring a patch, and order one in the design of your choice!

The first QRCode reader for the iPhone is available for free in the App Store now. Scanning a QRCode on the iPhone requires good light and a steady hand, unlike the J2ME readers that have been around for ten years. I’d love to know your experience — try scanning the sample code on the site, and let me know how it works for you!

Now that the first QRcode reader for the iPhone is just hours away has been released on the App Store, I’m taking the wraps off of the secret sibling of the nerdlepoint project. And here it is!

Velcro-backed QRcode patch: ""!

You’re looking at a two by four inch twill patch with Velcro stitched on the back. The hook side is on the patch, the loop side is sewn onto your jacket, your backpack, or your motorcycle tank bag. The flame at the top symbolizes AWESOMENESS, and the barcode at the bottom is a unique URL on the Swiss domain Every patch has a unique barcode, and therefore a unique URL.

Each has a secret keyphrase, allowing you to instruct the domain to redirect the URL anywhere you want. To your mobile-formatted RSS feed, to Google maps turn-by-turn directions to your favorite bar, to your Facebook group “NERDS UNITE”, whatever. You shoot the patch, your mobile phone’s browser opens the URL of your choosing.

With the additional features (Google maps linking, YouTube linking) available on an iPhone, here’s an example of something you could do:

  • YOU:
    “Excuse me, annoying Bluetooth headset guy on the street, you have jostled me, and you were a jerk about it. Using your iPhone 3G, please scan the 2D barcode located right here on my shoulder.”
  • ANNOYING BLUETOOTH HEADSET GUY (into his headset):
    “I know he can get the job, but can he do the job? I’M NOT ARGUING THAT WITH YOU!”
    [Holds up a “hang on” finger, scans your patch.]
    [Displays a youTube video of you giving the finger to the camera.]

See? SEE? That’s something you can ACTUALLY DO RIGHT NOW using the system. Or at least, you will be able to when the first QRcode reader for the iPhone makes it out of Apple code review and is released in the App Store. Which will be ANY MOMENT NOW.

For extra stylishness, each has a piece of Mysterious Art from none other than Kenn Munk, whom I asked to come up with a variety of designs for different purposes:

Velcro-backed Designs

Whaddya think? SO NERDY THAT IT JUST MIGHT WORK? I’m trying, here, to appeal to the Commando Nerd demographic. And we all know who the original patch-wearing Commando Nerds were:

If you think that a velcro-backed would look cool on your jacket or your backpack this fall, check out the page at

And if you’re interested in offline-to-online integration, I suggest that you check out the magnificently awesome semapedia, whose goal is to put QRcode stickers on physical objects, linking to the object itself. Hopefully, the deployment of a QRCode reader to the iPhone will be a big shot in the arm for this really cool project (I’m not involved with them, just a fan.)