Shanghai QR code brightly lit up the night sky

Shanghai QR code drone show put on by bilibili - Image from YouTube

The perfectly scannable quick response code was created by hundreds of synchronized drones.

Earlier this week, hundreds of drones flew up into the night sky to create a massive Shanghai QR code that could be scanned from the ground using a smartphone.

The giant quick response barcode was a symbol of the thriving digital economy and in China.

The Shanghai QR code was unique in that it was sailing over the city’s night sky using drones. That said, the barcodes are ubiquitous across the country. They are seen everywhere and are used for everything from placing order at restaurants, adding friends to messaging apps, donating to panhandlers, or purchasing groceries and other products in brick-and-mortar stores.

The barcode that flew over the city that night was a part of an airborne billboard advertisement. That was a component of a light show put on by Bilibili, a Chinese video streaming company. The show took place to celebrate the first anniversary of the Chinese release of the Princess Connect! Re:Dive Japanese role playing game.

A picture of the Shanghai QR code went viral on Twitter, generating a spectrum of reactions.

The day after the light show, people around the world gawked at a viral picture of the massive barcode on Twitter. Reactions included everything from amazement and awe to disgust and distrust.

While some enjoyed the precision with which it was created, critics compared it to Blade Runner 2049’s ad-filled world. It wasn’t quite the invasive holographic advertisements constantly competing for consumer attention and encouraging them to buy, but the point being made by the critics was a clear one.

The show took place above the city’s waterfront promenade. In it, 1,500 illuminated drones flew in synchronized flight to form various symbols from the game, such as its logo and certain characters. Eventually, they transformed into the quick response code which, when scanned, directed smartphone users to the official homepage.

Shanghai QR code drone show put on by bilibili - Image from YouTubeThe Shanghai QR code display hinted back to the game’s debut in China a year ago. At that time, Bilibili printed the barcodes on bus stop billboards throughout the city and placed a massive one on its own office building.

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