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!

Buy ’em at now!

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:

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.)

18 responses to “Velcro-Backed Commando Nerd Patches: The Project!”

  1. You’re on, Beth! Send me your home mailing address, and I’ll send you a p8tch and a passkey so you can configure it.
    Which design do you want?


  2. I want a QR code ipod/iphone cover… maybe someone you know has some sort of vinyl plotter/cutter/printer sorta thing…
    In the meantime I have numerous items just begging for a patch.


  3. You’re on, Toren! I can give you a patch, and then you can sew the loop-fabric on your multiple items, then TRANSFER YOUR COMMANDO NERD PATCH to the item you’re gonna be using. It’ll be like the Queen’s flag over Buckingham Palace.
    What design do you want?


  4. I thought long and hard about what design I would want before my first post… But came up with no significant preference. I think I would like any of them except the scissors. They scare me. Pick one for me…follow your heart… Picking up iPhone sometime in the next 24 hrs!!! Going to have to figure out the QR code reader.


  5. (Came in from BoingBoing)
    This idea is simultaneously WIN and AWESOME.
    Would it not be theoretically possible to link people to an iPhone-bricking program?


  6. @Daniel, Justin, and razorfrog: thanks! I think Kenn’s art makes ’em, you know, look like a THING.
    @Joe: Yes, I suppose it would be possible to do such a thing. In which case, it would be A VIRUS YOU CAN WEAR, and we’re one step closer to Snow Crash.
    Maybe I’ll ask Kenn to make an icon of an iPhone turning into a brick, and we’ll simply ask the EVIL HACKERS in the room to use that design. You know, so we’ll know which p8tches to scan, and which not to.


  7. So I can put these on my backpack, and when I’m out with the kids doing our thing (with the kids violating our city curfew, since they’re out and about with me due to our homeschooling) if we happen to encounter a officer concerned with our out-and-aboutness, he could scan my patch with his iPhone, if he was a really hip cop? I’ll get a patch to link it to the relevant exceptions to the city ordinances.
    I’m sure it wouldn’t go over well, but I can hope.
    Maybe I could get a ‘school crossing’ patch?


  8. Jen, I think homeschool kids should get involved with semapedia. You can go around putting QRCode stickers on things that have Wikipedia entries, so you can scan the THING, then read about the thing online. The folks at semapedia like to call them “physical hyperlinks.”
    The addition of stickering to being out past curfew will, I’m sure, ONLY HELP your case with the cops.
    Maybe linking your patch to this video will help things.


  9. Oh man this rules. I have to think of where to put this patch and then get me one.
    Hey John, when’s the next movie night? My wife and I want to come 🙂


  10. Oh, man, the next GDI. I wish I knew! I feel pretty overextended just at the moment 🙂 Let’s see, there’s the weekend coming up, then the weekend of August 9th… Oops, I’m gonna be at the beach this weekend.
    Boy, we may have to make it THIS weekend! Gulp!


  11. I love these. I technically don’t own an iPhone tho. Is that required?
    Also love your Joe vs. the Volcano reference. I think I’m the only fan of that film.


  12. Well, I love that movie SO DAMN MUCH that I count as dozens of fans. Does that count? I own luggage because of that film. I pined away for Meg Ryan because of that film.
    Anyhow, any mobile phone with a QRCode reader can read QRcodes:
    * Blackberry
    * iPhone
    * Nokia n95
    * Any neckbeard-y Nextel phone with a J2ME environment


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