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Search Results for: rfid

RFID To Improve Training On The Slopes

RFID Sensors On Skis (Image courtesy Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft)
By Andrew Liszewski

There’s no question that technology plays a big part in modern sports, particularly when an athlete relies on a piece of hardware like a pair of skis. But instead of improving how the skis perform, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany are using RFID to improve how a skier’s performance is monitored during training. Typically, coaches and athletes have relied on videos of a run to analyze the weaknesses in a skier’s technique, but that approach lacks concrete data or accurate measurements.

But RFID transmitters attached to the front and back of a pair of skis in conjunction with receivers alongside the slope can be used to continually and accurately measure the position of the skis to within 3 centimeters. So at the end of a run not only do you have empirical data about whether or not a skier has drifted from the ideal path, or if they’re carving and cornering properly, but you can even tell if the skis were parallel to each other.

The new system appears to still be in development right now, and it will need to be perfected to the point where it doesn’t affect a skier’s performance or even drag during a run, but I’m sure down the road it will be responsible for the demise of a few Olympic records.

[ Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft – Signal opportunities on the slopes – with RFID ] VIA [ Medgadget ]

DIY RFID Beer Safe Protects Your PBR

By Evan Ackerman

Curious about RFID? Overprotective of your beer? Have 30 minutes of free time? The latest episode of Systm (starring David Calkins, who knows a thing or five about robots) shows you how to make your very own RFID locking system. It costs around $100, which is a heck of a lot of replacement PBR, but you don’t have to just use it on your beer fridge. The setup that you learn how to build is modular, and can be attached to pretty much anything… your front door, your cookie jar, your cat, whatever. Check it out:

[ RFID on Systm ]

RFID Laundry Tags Give Your Socks Some Brains

Cloth Tag

By Evan Ackerman

I do my laundry superstitiously. Some things, I separate into darks and lights. Other things, I turn inside out. Why? Who knows. Laundry is just one big mystery to me. In the future, perhaps laundry machines will be able to tell me how to keep my life clean, and when that day arrives, they’ll be relying on RFID tags like these concepts from designer Samgmin Bae. The RFID antennas provide information about the clothing care requirements to the washer and dryer, while also illustrating it visually through some kind of cryptic pictorial code system. This seems like a great idea, but I’m not certain how it would work in practice… I guess maybe you could shove different combinations of dirty laundry into your washer until you get lucky and hit a combination that’ll all run on the same settings without ruining all of your unmentionables. Good luck.

VIA [ Yanko Design ]

RFID Wine Rack Knows More Than You Do About Your Wine

RFID Wine Rack

By Evan Ackerman

I live and work in Napa Valley during wine season, but I’m the first to admit that I haven’t a clue about wine. That is, I’m the first to admit it privately (like now). In public, I’ll examine it, swirl it, sniff it, sip it, and pretend to have a clue about what it is and where it comes from while I try and sneak looks at the label. Technology has come to my rescue with the RFID Wine Rack. Not only is it filled with hundreds of color shifting LEDs, but the entire rack has built in RFID readers to keep track of your wine. Using your computer, you can add information to the database, or even run custom queries:

“A handheld browser commands the rack to display multiple types of information and project the results with RGB LEDs directly onto the individual bottles, which are identified by the rack via custom walnut veneer radio frequency identification (RFID) tags on each bottle. For example, a collector planning a dinner party could specify they want to see all of their 2003 Napa Chardonnays whose current market value exceeds $50. WineM will identify and light up just the bottles that match those criteria.”

A chardonnay? From Napa? HA! If you’re going to drink a Northern California wine, go for a big chewy red, even I know that much. But that’s all I know, seriously. A video of the wine rack in action, after the jump.Continue Reading

DIY Big Brother With RFID Card Printer

Brother RL-700s (Image courtesy Brother)By Andrew Liszewski

If the whole RFID concept has you a bit concerned this isn’t going to alleviate your fears. Brother has just released a new printer that will pretty much allow anyone to make laminated ‘TAG type’ ID cards complete with an embedded RFID chip.

I can only assume the chips are already embedded in the blank tags to start with but the printer can also be used to program each one with the person’s identification info. Having these available as an easy-to-use all-in-one unit will probably make a lot of office managers happy but if you’re an employee who finds yourself having to wear one of these all day you might want to cut down on those 2-hour lunches.

[ Brother RL-700s ] VIA [ Akihabara News ]

RFID-Tagged Staples Concept From Swingline

Swingline RFID Tagged Staples (Image courtesy Popular Science)By Andrew Liszewski

I’m not surprised that companies like Xerox or Swingline (ACCO) would be apprehensive at embracing the idea of the paperless office. But at the same time they’re not opposed to using advances in technology to better their products either. Case in point this concept stapler from Swingline that will use staples embedded with tiny RFID chips. That way once your hard copy is printed and stapled you’ll be able to track its location in your office no matter what desk it ends up on.

Unfortunately though gone will be the days when you can use the excuse “I didn’t get the memo” since your boss might actually be able to prove you did. The real question I have though is what happens to single sheets which aren’t usually stapled? I guess they’re destined to forever go missing.

[ Popular Science – Never Lose Another Memo ]


By Evan Ackerman


RFID sure seems like it would be a cool thing to play with, right? Now you can, without being a technical genius. ThinkGeek is offering a RFID experimentation kit, which features a USB RFID reader and 15ish read-only RFID tags of various shapes and sizes, including an implantable one which you should not not not try to implant unless you think you know what you’re doing (instead, just swallow some of these).

Details on the actual software are scanty, but one simple use might be for your computer to launch some applications when you sit down, and close them when you leave via an RFID tag on your person. If you’ve hooked up a USB power strip, the RFID tag could even instruct your computer to turn on speakers, lights, and peripherals. The possibilities are limitless, since RFID enables your computer to know who and what is around it.

Let’s not get in to all of the potential sinister uses at this point and just be happy that we can play with RFID tags. The price is a penny under $100, with availability in late March.

[ RFID Experimentation Kit ] VIA [ Coolest Gadgets ]

Hitachi Develops World’s Smallest RFID Chip.

hitachi rfid

By David Ponce

Gentlemen, take your tinfoil hats out. The time is near when you’ll be a likely candidate to be sprinkled with RFID powder. It’s a little bit like Pixie dust, except this dust lets Big Brother keep a better eye on you. What is this, you say? Well, seems Hitachi recently announced the development of the world’s smallest RFID chip, at 0.05mm square. That’s actually 64 times smaller than the Mu-Chip you see on that dude’s thumb. The new chip, pictured on the right next to a human hair, is 5 microns thick, and will have a 128-bit ROM for storing a unique 38-digit ID number.

Aside from the obvious (and severely paranoid) applications, we could start seeing these being embedded in currency, ID cards and even gift certificates. Hitachi plans to bring this to market within 2 to 3 years.

[ Read More (in Japanese) ] VIA [ Pink Tentacle ]

MyKey 2300 Lock Uses RFID Chips To Protect Your Home

mykey rfid lockBy David Ponce

With the recent brouhaha over Bumpkeys, and how regular locks are fundamentally flawed, perhaps your paranoia level will reach critical levels, and you’ll go out hunting for alternative ways to keep your trailer lavish mansion from getting burgled. With the MyKey 2300, you can forego keys altogether.

The $300 lock relies on your carrying an RFID chip on your person. When waved in front of the lock, the door opens. If you chose to eschew the RFID chip from further paranoia of having it cloned, then a keypad allows you to enter a secret code.

[MyKey 2300] VIA [Uncrate]