Violet's Mirr:or: Internet of Things Via RFID

violet mirror

Today at PICNIC, Violet announced that it is releasing a mass-market RFID reader. The Mir:ror will connect to your computer via USB. It will read RFID tags placed near it and can perform actions based on them. I am not sure that the mass-market is ready for an RFID reader, but I think this will one will make headway in the geek community.

Via the Mir:ror any RFID tag can be used to trigger information retrieval, an application to load or a file to open. For example a metro card can bring up traffic conditions to help you decide how to get to work in the morning — or anything else you assign it to do. Based on the screenshots there are a lot of actions that will be available at launch.


For objects that don’t have RFIDs (known within Violet as Nobjects) there are Violet supplied stamps (I think that we have found a razor-blades revenue model). Two examples used in the presentation were: apply a stamp to your umbrella and you could bring up the weather or apply a stamp to a bottle of prescription medicine and you can track when you take your meds. I might use it with my passport to bring up my future travel schedule. In an ideal world I could use it to inventory my bag before, during and after travel to make sure no gadget is left behind. Violet will also be partnering with companies so that their products are pre-configured (the example in the talk was a children’s book that could start an audio track).

The talk was high-concept, but from what I could tell upon reading an RFID tag client software will perform the requested action. It seemed however that most of the configuration would happen on the web. Like the Nabaztag, the Mir:ror will be a dumb-device and all the smarts will be on the computer. The Mir:ror will have an API (from what I could tell from the talk).


Violet is the company known for releasing the Nabaztag, the first-ever internet-connected Rabbit. The company strategy for connecting objects to the internet is simple:

* One: connect the Rabbits.

* Two: connect everything else.

Profit! is an unstated third part of the strategy. The Mir:ror is definitely a step towards completing this strategy.

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  • If the mir:ror become popular it might persuade bigger hardware manufacturers to include mir:ror like readers to their gadgets. An iPhone that could ‘read’ other iPhones would certainly be cool. A MacBook being able to announce its presence to a room would open up another world of possibilities. That is why I sure hope they succeed!

  • The concept of a plug n play rfid reader has been around but it’s been focused on specific applications (medical and industrial).

    I could see geeks, like myself, using it to phase out biz cards. Walk into a room and allow others to retrieve your info via RFID using your iPhone.

    My shoes can already speak to my Nano so I think mass-market appeal is possible.

  • personne

    If Apple wanted you to do that with your iLives, they would have already done it, iPeople.

  • Tom

    The only use I would make of one of these is to ensure that my EMP unit successfully destroys rfids.

  • brady forrest

    I was actually reminded of the CueCat while writing this. I think that the difference between Mir:ror and other RFID readers is that a firm with proven design skills is going to make them. I think computer-linked objects could be very powerful — if the experience is easy enough.

  • personne

    It will be immensely powerful, and we’ll grow to depend on it, but if the network goes down, you’re technically insane.

  • Hey,

    I like my Nabaztag, it is a very usefull tool :)

    Good article, anyway.


  • The Nabaztag/tag has had an inbuilt RFID reader for almost 2 years and Violet has yet to enable it for us users who bought a Nabaztag with the same promise they are offering now with the Mir:ror product.

    After years of flakey service and broken promises I would not trust Violet to be able to deliver on its Mir:ror vision, as much as I think it’s a great idea

  • Kaitlyn/BasilHumberton

    This is such crap! Nabaztag/tag users have been promised for at least a year that we would get RFID technology, as this was one of the selling points for the nabaztag/tags.. and NOTHING. Get your act together, Violet, because you guys are going to get a lot of negative feedback and a lot less loyal customers if you keep this up. We are tired of waiting!

  • Kaitlyn/BasilHumberton

    Well, after sending some nasty emails to Violet, they said that they will also sell just the “Ztamp:s” to the nabaztag/tag users and may offer them at a discounted price. They better! They should give some out for free, considering they advertised the use of RFID tags years ago, back when I bought mine. Major let down.. but I hope it’s a steep discount. That’ll redeem them some.

  • well Mir:ror is now available at

  • I think computer-linked objects could be very powerful

  • Nabaztag is a great tool. Thanks for the nice article.

    Cheers Mike