Violet Mir:ror DIY RFID kit
Attach the internet to objects. Apparently
Review Whether you notice it or not, radio-frequency identification (RFID) is upon us in our daily lives. For Londoners, the most obvious incarnation is the Oyster card. Sit it on a pad when you start and finish a tube journey and the fare is deducted from your account automatically.
The people at Violet want to make RFID a rather more fluffy experience by domesticating this technology with its range of cute looking ‘rabbit’ objects that also rely on a touchpad, called the Mir:ror, that hooks up with Mac, PC and even Linux boxes over USB. Internet access is also essential, to deliver what Violet describes as "The Internet of Things".
Violet's Mir:ror: everything is illuminated
Out of the box you get the Mir:ror, three Ztamps - postage stamp-sized stick-on RFID chips - and two Nano:ztags – plastic rabbits with moveable ears that do nothing other than add an element of body language to the proceedings.
The idea is that tagged objects or the rabbits can be assigned specific tasks. Wave them over the Mir:ror and anything from RSS headlines being read aloud, to streaming a favourite podcast channel are set in motion. Such are the basics of the Mir:ror, but there’s a whole ecosystem of possibilities that Violet is pioneering in order to realise its slogan, Let All Things Be Connected.
Put a tagged object on the pad to trigger an event
A flimsy quick-start guide gets things off the ground, the first task being to download the Mirware software. At version 0.9, it doesn’t inspire confidence. Once installed, a purple circle icon appears in the Mac menu bar and likewise on a PC’s Quick Launch area. If no Mir:ror is detected, the icon has a red X through it. Sometimes when the Mir:ror was connected but the application had to be quit and restarted, this disconnected state would appear, forcing us to unplug and replug the Mir:ror touchpad. A bit flaky really.