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.
The first thing I thought of
when I saw this was that it might be good to be able to put my keys (with tagged keyring) into a bowl (containing tag reader) when returning home from work and for that action to trigger a set of actions within the house (keys in bowl = lights and stereo on, etc). But that would require a chunk of home infrastructure that isn't there. And isn't going to be there any time soon.
I can't see this taking off as a substitute for desktop shortcuts or browser bookmarks at all. *Maybe* for young kids being able to automatically trigger the playing of a cartoon or something, but I'd say that's about the limit of it's possibilities on the desktop, tied to a PC.
So yeah, I can see RFID tags being incorporated into, say, WiFi enabled toys, with a wave of toy part A near toy part B resulting in outcome X, Y or Z.
And, such is the way of the world, there are no doubt plans afoot to tie it in with advertising. Eg: wave your personal tag infront of a screen while out and about (bus stops?) to receive info of some sort (news / sport / celeb stuff) that will be 'supported' by way of product placement/advertising.
But as a cumbersome phsical replacement for desktop shortcuts and browser bookmarks? No chance.
now if it could read an embedded pet RFID tag rather that its own propprietary ones and then acivate the solenoid that unlocks the flap.............
CatMates solution is lame.
RE: Good thing I wasn't drinking my coffee...
Glad to see I'm not the only one with a mind sufficiently dirty so as to appreciate that.
that killer app is UWB (ultrawideband) based RFID systems where you build up a radar style presence cloud of tagged items. The typical ISO-14443A 13.56MHz stuff (eg shiny rabbits & ePassports) is only centimetres talk distance. pulsed UWB at 6GHz has been demonstrated over a kilometer with incredibly low almost undetectable power levels. see multispectral.com, tags are a few dollars each, development system around 14k.
now where did I leave my coat?
Yup, what exactly is the point with these?
after reading up on the tikitag after seeing it i think on firebox, i took a look, and it has a similar idea, wave the tag over the receiver and it activates a certain task using the tikitag server (so it's still reliant on a webserver being up and running.
other that the idea that tikitag suggests i believe, and that's sticking the tags to a business card, and hoping to hell that the receipient has an RFID reader, i don't see the difference between sticking a tag to an object, and say, clicking on a shortcut which achieves the same task.
i think these companies are thinking along the tikitag lines, and thinking about exchangable objects/tags in the long term, but in the short term don't know how to get the readers out there. anyone know if the MIR:ROR reader is compatible with the Tikitag system? if it isn't, then it's all going for a ball of chalk really isn't it.....