Investigators have re-engineered radio-frequency identification tags to allow them to work faster than ever before. They are powerful enough to be used in games, physical interfaces, and other interactive objects. Disney Research and Carnegie Mellon University have published a paper with details about the new system.
Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is a term for technologies that use radio waves to recognize people or objects. An RFID tag includes a microchip attached to an antenna, which work together to transmit information to a reader, said the RFID Journal.
When a reader receives radio waves, it turns them into digital information that can be used by computers. RFID tags serve to aggregate inexpensive, wireless, batteryless sensing to objects. The new technique uses RFID tags to sense movement or touch in almost real-time.
Given the low costs of this technology, it can now be introduced to slider and rotary controls, for games and toys. Moreover, it can be used in applications that require a quick response, said researchers in a press release issued Wednesday by Carnegie Mellon University.
“Building interactive objects usually entails circuit boards, wiring, and batteries, but passive RFID tags costing as little as a dime apiece make it feasible to add interactivity to a wide variety of objects, even those made from paper or other craft materials”, said Alanson Sample, research scientist at Disney Research.
The new technique is capable of creating interactive objects, which could be disposable and perhaps recyclable, said Scott Hudson, professor in Carnegie Mellon’s Human Computer Interaction Institute. On the other hand, RFID tags could be also added to durable objects.
For instance, the technology could fit into interactive pop-up books and toys, in which batteries or wires would interfere in their functions, said researchers of the study. The new method will be presented at the Conference on Human Factors in Computing, in California.
What was the problem with older RFID tags?
RFID tags can transfer information when they are boosted by radio frequency waves from a reader. However, this method is not designed to provide quick answers. James McCann, investigator at Disney Research, said they could not be used to control games and real-time apps.
— Disney Research (@DisneyResearch) May 7, 2016
The team has developed a new framework called RapID, which interprets signals in a faster way. A process that was previously achieved in two seconds can now be done in less than 200 milliseconds, said the researchers.
It would be interesting to see how toy developers take advantage of the re-engineered RFID tags. Authors of the investigation have already created a toy spaceship, whose movements animate an on-screen spaceship.
Source: Carnegie Mellon University