Archive for the ‘RFID’ tag
If you use an RFID card for your transit pass or ID card at work you can embed that card right into your phone so you don’t have to carry it around. Electronics DIY web site Adafruit shows you how to do it. More »
Is this a mosquito? No. It’s an insect spy drone for urban areas, already in production, funded by the US Government. It can be remotely controlled and is equipped with a camera and a microphone. It can land on you, and it may have the potential to take a DNA sample or leave RFID tracking nanotechnology on your skin.
Actual research paper
Pretpark Walibi Belgium is gestart met een RFID toepassing. Bezoekers kunnen via een armbandje en Facebook laten weten welke attracties ze hebben bezocht.
Over the years we’ve seen how RFID technnology can be put to imaginative use, applied to everything from music festivals to eco-grave tracking to the feeding of cats. The latest spotting was at Brazilian fashion store Memove, where RFID was recently installed to track and control inventory throughout the supply chain.
Memove’s clothing manufacturers in Brazil, China and elsewhere begin by sewing an EPC Gen 2 passive RFID label into each item, according to a report in RFID Journal. With that in place, items are carefully tracked as they make their way to the distribution center and then the store, their arrival at which automatically updates the store’s inventory system. Also on hand at each store is an RFID-enabled trolley that need only be rolled through the aisles to update inventory in minutes. Dressing rooms are connected as well so as to track how many items enter and leave each stall. Shoppers, meanwhile, can check themselves out securely by placing all their items in a dedicated RFID-enabled basket, which calculates the total price. Once the customer has paid by debit or credit card at the POS terminal, the basket automatically updates inventory and erases each RFID label’s encoded ID number so that alarms won’t sound as the shopper exits the store. In the event the consumer later returns an item, RFID codes can be reprogrammed — but only if the tag hasn’t yet been washed. If it has, the tag can’t be re-encoded and the store refuses the return.
Launched last October, the RFID project at Memove has reportedly proven so successful that VGB Global Brands, the brand’s parent company, now plans to deploy it in its Siberian and Crawford chains as well. Retailers around the globe: food for thought?
Innovative ideas enabling consumers to pay digitally without the use of a card have recently included RFID chips embedded into watches and receipts sent directly to customers’ smartphones. However, Ushuaïa Ibiza Beach Hotel has rolled out what is the first instance of biometric payments we’ve seen in the hospitality industry, utilising the PayTouch system.
The hotel, which describes itself as a “techie pioneer”, has already experimented with RFID-equipped bracelets allowing guests to keep their Facebook friends updated about their holiday in real time. Now it has teamed up with PayTouch, which travelers can register with upon arrival at the hotel. Guests give their card details along with the biometric data of their right index and middle fingers. All of the facilities at the destination have been equipped with fingerprint recognition devices, meaning that customers do not have to present cards or enter pin numbers — rather, they press their fingers against the reader for a few seconds to complete payment. Security is increased due to the unique nature of fingerprints and the reduced need to carry cards around while on holiday. Each registration also comes with an account where users can track transactions online and the hotel rewards guests taking up the scheme with “access to events, reserved areas, discounts, prizes, promotions”. There is no extra cost to register with PayTouch. The following video shows the system in action:
While Ushuaïa Ibiza Beach Hotel is one of the first companies to trial the system, it is clear that PayTouch could be a strong contender for cardless payments both at home and abroad. One worth getting in on early?
We’ve seen wristbands enhanced with RFID technology numerous time in the past and for different reasons – from warning farm machinery operators if children are in the vicinity to enabling waterpark guests to upload photos to their Facebook profiles. Earlier this year, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in California sought to take advantage of the technology to make the event safer and offer more to customers.
The organizers of the festival approached UK-based ID&C to help boost the security of the festival with an RFID-based control system to replace standard wristbands, which need to be checked by eye and can feasibly be swapped from person to person to allow guests illegal entry. The wristbands contained the ticket details of each customer, encrypted with a 16-digit ID, and a gate system was set up to allow only one person with one wristband in or out at a time. If the RFID chip was compromised or the system detected an attempt at more than one entry, a red light was displayed and admission rejected. If customers had linked their wristbands to their Facebook account at registration, then once inside they could also tap the bands at stations around the site to update friends both at the festival and at home with details of the stage they were at and the act performing.
The system allowed the festival curators to more closely regulate numbers, enabling them to adhere to site capacity rules and safety laws, while customers also benefitted from reduced gate queue times due to the automated process, as well as social media interactivity. Event organizers: one to get in on?
While we all need water to survive, colleges and universities across the U.S. are betting that their students can survive without water of the bottled variety. As Bloomberg recently reported, more than 90 universities, including Brown and Harvard, are banning or restricting the sale of plastic water bottles. Considering that bottled water represents a $22 billion industry in the U.S. and that more than 9 billion gallons were sold last year, the actions of these universities aren’t likely to scare “Big Water,” as they represent just a fraction of sales. But it makes an important statement about bottled water nonetheless.
And let’s be honest: Whether or not you’ve recently hugged a tree, buying branded tap water in a plastic bottle for $1.50+ a pop seems … well … completely #$%^&-ing ridiculous — unless of course your village has yet to secure a reliable source of potable water. In that case, we understand. But, with colleges (and apparently Concord, Massachusetts) moving to or actually banning bottled water, a Pennsylvania-based startup, called Evive Station, has developed an innovative, ergonomic solution for providing campuses (and beyond) with a better alternative.
Like cellphone recycling startup, ecoATM, Evive has decided to go with the kiosk approach to the bottled water problem. With design help from Daedalus, the startup developed its “stations” to provide campuses with the world’s first on-site bottle cleaning and filtered water-dispensing service.
That doesn’t sound that cool, says the 16-year-old cynic in you. And you’re right, plenty of universities and organizations provide what are known as “sinks” and “dishwashers” and “hydration stations” often called “water fountains.” Fair enough. But even if you buy a plastic water bottle and use it once, it can get filthy pretty quickly, and sticking it in the dishwasher isn’t a workable solution.
So, what’s cool about Evive is that they offer users double-walled stainless steel reusable bottles, which means no more plastic, and lower carbon footprints. In turn, their kiosks filter municipal water, offer unlimited re-filling and cleaning of those steel bottles by way of a patent-pending process that only takes a minute. And everything other than the bottles are free.
The stations are also designed to dispense bag-in-box concentrated, flavored water drinks, hot beverages, and multivitamin options, so that pale, sickly looking college students that haven’t seen the light of day as they cram for exams can get their daily dose of vitamins.
But, seeing as the service is free, that Evive is offering to install these stations on campuses for free, and is sweetening the deal with something called the “Precycling Grant” — which essentially means that the more students use the station, the more Evive gives back to the university — you might wonder whether this is purely mission-driven or whether Evive actually has a business model. And that’s where it gets interesting. Or crazy, depending on your point of view.
During the minute that students wait for Evive Stations to clean and fill their water bottles, the kiosks’ 32-inch high-def screens serve them interactive advertisements, internship opportunities, campus messaging, and offers. Evive Co-founder and CFO Jason Yablinsky tells us that the team wants to use advertising to offset the costs. Students go to Evive’s website, create a user profile, at which point the site asks them for some relevant demographic info. After checking appropriate boxes, they receive a redemption code which is linked to an RFID tag inside their new bottle.
Each time they go to a kiosk, they scan their bottle’s tag, and the cleaning and re-filling begins. The demographic data they collected from the student on their site is connected with the RFID tag, and they’re then served targeted ads that are relevant to their age, the classes they’re taking, what year they are, etc. While those ads and job opportunities play on the screen, students can request more information or post/tweet messages to their social media profiles linked to their user profiles.
Evive also plans to make space both on the kiosks and the water bottles distributed to students available for branding (which it’s offering for free now, but for purchase down the road), as well offering discounts and deals at local restaurants or coffee shops that will be relevant to hungry students looking for a bite, for example. Along with proximity ads that display digital billboards when someone walks by the station. Plus, they plan to offer realtime tracking of the amount of plastic bottles saved from the landfill, which campuses can then display to feel good about how green they’re becoming. Good PR for them as well as saving them from the cost of distributing bottled water.
There’s obviously a lot going on — a lot of moving parts in the Evive user experience — and that may make it a tough sell for some universities. And, really, Evive is attempting to blend a number of different industries and operations in one — beverage distribution, cleaning, campus/organizational services, steel bottle manufacturing and distributing, and so on. It’s an ambitious project, but one that the team is hoping has enough appeal in cost-savings and sustainability that it will outweigh the rest.
Evive has enlisted Flextronics — an electronics manufacturing services provider which counts Cisco Systems, Eastman Kodak, HP, Motorola, Dell, Oracle, and more as customers — to produce its kiosks. The startup has also raised $2 million in seed funding to get the ball rolling, and is currently in the process of closing a much larger Series A to help it expand to universities across the country. The team is tentatively planning to be in up to 30 universities by the year’s end.
Right now, Evive is testing its system at West Virginia University, where it’s placed four stations in various buildings. Over 4K students have signed up to use Evive, and the co-founders tell us that they can’t distribute water bottles fast enough. So far, they’ve had a lot of interest from both big state schools and private colleges. They aren’t ready to say who they’re working with yet, but they’ve been encouraged by the interest both from campuses, organizations, and investors.
And to that point, the team is focusing on universities now, and for the near future, but eventually wants to open up its service to businesses, corporations, and more.
What do you think? Is Evive an innovative, ergonomic solution or just full of water?
For colleges, universities, or anyone else interested in the service, check out Evive at home here, or in the video below:
One of the geeky, cute contraptions of the early Facebook days was a web-enabled beer keg at company headquarters. Whenever an employee swiped their RFID badge on it, a camera would snap a photo of them pouring a beer and post a status update to Facebook. Whenever it ran low on beer, the keg would post pictures of BevMo to Facebook as a desperate refill reminder.
Even though Facebook’s beer keg world domination plans never played out, the technology behind the keg, called Presence, may still show up in the wild. That’s because one of the engineers behind Presence, John Stockdale, is starting a company around the concept. It’s aptly named Presence. Apparently, the naming and IP rights around the technology aren’t issues for Facebook.
A spin-off of Presence doesn’t mean beer kegs powered by ‘The Cloud!’ will suddenly appear everywhere. Presence happens to be a much broader concept than that. There isn’t a product out yet, but Stockdale’s calling it “digital identity for the physical world.”
Here’s what Stockdale posted about the company on Presence’s new page:
We aim to simplify and modernize a whole slew of ordinary interactions that you have with the real world. Many of you will remember Super Secret Door (http://facebook.com/supersecretdoor), a facebook-enabled door that three of us* built during Hackathon 18. It was only a proof of concept, but it’s one of many ideas that Presence as a platform will enable.
Using our platform, your home will know who is trying to access it. A hypothetical lock application allows you to specify access rules for your door and garage (…car, ski-house, bike, etc.), on an individual or group basis. You and your roommates have 24/7 access. Your housekeeper has access between 2pm and 6pm on Tuesdays. When you’re out of town, your kickball group can get into your garage over the weekend to pick up and drop off the bases and gear. Any unauthorized access results in an email notification explaining who attempted access and when.
By giving the places and things we interact with the capability to understand who is interacting with them, and in what manner, we can enable a whole new generation of real-world user experiences.
It might be easy to slot Presence into the whole slew of “Internet of Things” companies that connect physical objects like thermostats (Nest) or souped-up pedometers (Fitbit, Nike Fuelband) to the web. But Stockdale thinks many of the companies from the previous generation are more about elevating the status of objects in people’s lives instead of merely allowing the material things we own to enhance our interactions with other people.
“This is about making your interactions with spaces and objects more similar to your interaction with people and friends,” he says. Stockdale isn’t very explicit about what kinds of technology he’ll end up using. It might not even be RFID or NFC, which is what was used for Google Wallet. It should be more ambient.
Presence actually made a more public debut back in 2010 at Facebook’s f8 developer conference. It powered a bunch of different stations at the venue where attendees could “check-in” or have their photos taken by swiping their badges. It raised speculation that Facebook was going to pursue more ambitious concepts around “location” involving RFID, but that didn’t end up being the case in the short-term. However, Facebook recently acquired a mobile loyalty startup called TagTile earlier this month. That company gave away free hardware to merchants, who would let their customers collect and redeem loyalty points, coupons and other rewards through mobile apps.
If your home or office has unique security challenges or you just want the geek cred you assemble a system to open a door via an RFID signal. At around $100 the parts aren’t expensive, but in addition to basic electronics skills you’ll need familiarity with Arduino Uno boards and access to a laser cutter. More »
We’ve already seen solutions such as DOGTV looking to keep pets entertained while owners are away from home, but what about feeding them? Using RFID sensor technology, Gatefeeder is now looking to provide a solution to this problem.
The cuboid device can hold around one weekend’s worth of food for one cat and comes with a smart ID tag that is placed on the animal’s collar. When the cat pushes the door, the machine instantly reads the RFID tag, opens the door and provides a serving of food. When more than one pet is at home, Gatefeeder offers the right amount of nourishment to each cat based on their ID tags. To eliminate competitive eating, the device fits only one cat’s head and body through the door at once and all food is contained within the device to avoid mess. Medication can also be included in each serving and Gatefeeder’s creators claim that owners of small dogs could benefit from the machine as well. Gatefeeder is currently on sale for USD 249. The device is shown in more detail in the video below:
With many owners leading increasingly busy lifestyles, this could prove to be a useful device to ensure pets do not suffer if there is no-one home to feed them. One to replicate to cater for other animals?
Spotted by: Cecilia Biemann