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Radio arse tags solve modern-day TV musical chairs dilemma

There's no such thing as over-engineering

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Vid Little electronic tags that broadcast data over the air turn up in the strangest of places. Now they've managed to end up sewn into the back of contestants' shorts in a TV version of childhood favourite, musical chairs.

The programme is called Oh Sit! and made by US broadcaster CBS. It adds live music and an obstacle course to the staple of kiddie parties - and, most interestingly, relies on RFID tags sewn into players' clothes that communicate via radio wave to receivers stuck to the chairs. They replace the parental intervention normally necessary when two children contestants dive for the same seat.

Here's how it's supposed to work:

RFID Journal has a lot more details, including the models of reader and tag selected, but the critical challenge is to keep the amount of metal in the seats at a low. Running wires directly to the freely revolving chairs, and real-time tracking of the contestants as they run about and circle the course, isn't practical.

Accurate indoor tracking is puzzling some of the best tech companies at the moment, but the other issues raised by the TV game were resolved with a slip-ring antenna to reduce the amount of cabling from the chairs, and carefully tuned tag readers resting on foam pads to mitigate the metal construction.

That results in the first arse in place trigging the chair, which transmits the player's ID to the game server over Wi-Fi, even if the contestant is later shoved aside as they so often are in the children's party original. ®

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