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Tikitag lets anyone become Big Brother

Stick NFC tech into clothes, toys, children

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If you're still wondering exactly what NFC technology is for, then Tikitag will sell you enough kit to try and find out for only $50 - a small investment if you can find a killer application for the technology.

Near Field Communication is the standard for short range communication with unpowered tags. The kits, which will be available from 1 October, include ten tags and a USB reader for a shade under $50. With the reader comes the "Application Correlation Server", a Mac or PC application that makes things happen when a tag is read, and provides an API for more interesting development.

The company site shows the usual examples of sending tags to people, though the post, so they can wave them near a computer and load up your website - a bit like emailing a URL, only more expensive and less convenient. They also suggest tags could be affixed near art works so people with NFC-equipped phones can load up more information - an awful lot of faff to avoid typing in a URL, really.

The big problem for NFC is that it lacks a killer application - a reason for existing - if that can be found then all these other apps would be great additions, but they won't drive adoption. It should come as no surprise that behind Tikitag is Alcatel-Lucent, associate member of the NFC Forum and sponsor of at least one NFC trial.

Putting NFC tags, and readers, into the hands of hackers and hobbyists is probably a sensible way to try and find the elusive killer application - that is, if such an application exists. ®

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