Come to ETech; Experiment with Physical Computing and RFIDs

RFID’s are associated with credit cards, passports and inventory systems. However, they can also be used to add a proximity interaction to a service like entering a subway via a passkey (Jan Chipchase has several posts describing these interactions around the world). By linking yourself to an RFID tag you can let a device know who you are. If you add in a link to an online, personal profile the interaction can be very personal.

By having your information at the ready an RFID tag can give you a much simpler interaction with technology. It is very easy to conceptualize the possibilities, but to really get a feel for how RFIDs can effect your interaction It’s an area that has to be explored physically.

RFID tags

That’s why we are giving all of the attendees at ETech RFID tags (See the tag art to the right) that can be linked to their conference profiles (opt-in). With these tags you can interact with several projects we’ll have at the conference. BTW, ETech is happening March 9-12 in San Jose. Use et09pd30 at checkout for 30% off.

We were inspired to do this after I attended PICNIC in 2008 (Radar post) and got to experience first-hand the many, many uses of an RFID badge. Mediamatic linked your profile to it and that information was used to record your experiences. We got help from Mediamatic on our implementation and even used the same vendor.

If you make it to ETech here are the projects you can play with:

Lensley’s Photobooth: Leonard Lin‘s new project is Lensley, a high-end photobooth with online photo-services integration. He’s creating a special version just for ETech that will tag photos with your name and tweet that you’ve just had one taken.

Personal Calendar: Radar’s own Edd Dumbill is the fellow behind the profile APIs. He is going to create a project that will show attendees their personal calendar at a public kiosk.

ETech Prophet: Josh and Tarikh of Uncommon Projects (they made the cool Yahoo! geo-bike) are adding an element of play to their project. They sent me a mail describing it as: “Essentially, we’d like to make an “Etech Prophet” a kind of mechanical turk idea (perhaps in another form factor)–you wave your RFID fob, it gesticulates, makes a noise and sends you your pithy fortune via twitter

People Collector: This is a favorite of mine. Business cards are a waste of time and paper. I just want the person’s email address. Nothing else. The People Collector will be a mobile device that people can use to exchange contact information with other attendees. When you meet someone just wave your fob over their People Collector and a message will be sent to both of you. The People Collector will be built in Tom Igoe and Brian Jepson’s Hands-On RFID Workshop on 3/9.

Do you have something that you want to make? Let me know in the comments or find me on Twitter. We are still looking for projects.

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  • Steve

    RFID’s are more instrumental to our society than most people know. All passports produced with in the last two years all have RFID chips which are illegal to tamper with. Although actually deemed inferior in most aspects compared to other options, they do have the ability to emit a light signal that airport security or border patrol could utilize (just as you have incorporated it above). This site has info on it

  • More on the development of the Mediamatic RFID games including the IkWin (Google Battle), the IkRun, Friend-Drink-Station and many more on . Also see or the pages at the PICNIC website:

  • RFID clearly has the potential to connect people and places in very engaging ways, to build strong interactive experiences.

    My company Mediacircus has spent some time experimenting with the use of RFID to enable location-specific games, and this autumn we launched the story-driven urban adventure game Fall of Varg Veum in the streets of Bergen, Norway.

    In the game, the player wears a Private Eye ID card (RFID badge) that discretely triggers game progression and interaction as the player moves from location to location in the city. The player’s interaction with the game is based on SMS dialogues vith various characters, on-site investigation, as well as finding digital clues on websites, CCTV cams etc.

    With the right tools, the physical world becomes the most immersive gaming environment there is.