RFID peripherals

Plug and play RFID-reading USB peripherals are all the rage, as indicated by a stream of recent product announcements. These readers plug into a PC and make various things happen when they are touched with an RFID tag.

RFID readers are small and cheap, encapsulating them in packaging and offering a standard USB interface makes for a versatile product. What we need to see now is some applications and platforms that make these products useful and desirable.


Designed as a commercially available product, similar to the Nabaztag rabbit, the Mir:ror is intended to allow physical objects to work with online services. “Violet was inspired by a simple fact: the rift between the virtual world - everything happening on the other side of your computer screen - and the physical world we live in is growing, and growing fast.”



Tikitag is offering a small, cheap USB reader that plugs into any computer with compatible drivers “Tikitag is an Alcatel-Lucent Venture based in Antwerp, Belgium which provides a service to link the real world with the online world.”



The Bowl was created as part of the Touch project and designed to be an object that wouldn’t look out of place in the living room. “The Bowl is a simple media player that can be used by people of all ages, particularly young children. A bowl sits on the living room table and range of physical objects can be placed within it. When an object is placed in the bowl related media is played back on the TV.”




ThingM has been developing RFID-driven interfaces in their WineM concept for a while, and they have developed a smaller, USB version finished in wood.

ThingM / WineM


Aimed more towards the high-end, for custom installations in retail environments, “the Airtag reader is a contactless reader for point of sale (POS). Easy to install it can be plugged to any cashier system, or standalone for smart poster.”


RFID mon amour

For the sake of completeness, this was perhaps the first commercially available plug-and-play RFID prototyping platform. “Rfid mon amour 1.0 is a kit for designers, artists and architects, which allows the realization of interactive exhibitions in a very simple manner, without any specific knowledge of programming or electronics. The kit comes with an USB based RFID player, Mac OS X compatible software, 10 RFID tags and some sample videos.”

RFID mon amour

Related things:

  1. RFID and physical social networks Poken is offering a physical networking platform, with physical, RFID-based objects that plug into a PC via USB (where have we heard that before?) A Poken is a connected business card, when you meet......
  2. More RFID-based products A Dutch company, Swinxs is developing a physical RFID-based console with RFID wristbands for children. They claim to be encouraging physical activities and ‘stimulating imagination’. The console includes versions of Tag, multiple Quiz games,......
  3. iPhone RFID and NFC peripherals We are beginning to see RFID and NFC peripherals beginning to be released for the iPhone. Since our conceptual video prototype of the iPhone object-based media came out in April, we’ve had thousands of......
  4. Playful augmented products This is a design brief, one of many themes that the Touch project is investigating. It extends an older brief Playful RFID with an emphasis on exploring material and experience prototyping. Last week Interaction......
  5. Skål: playing with media Skål (Norwegian for bowl) is a product that has emerged from the Bowl project. It is a media player designed for the home that acts as the interface between physical objects and related digital......

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  1. Posted 29 September 2008 at 15:44 | Permalink

    I just hope they’re all NFC Forum compatible…

  2. Timo
    Posted 29 September 2008 at 15:45 | Permalink

    I know that Airtag and Tikitag are, not so sure about Mir:ror.

    All the others use low-frequency tags AFAIK.

  3. Posted 29 September 2008 at 15:58 | Permalink

    Hmhmhm… I would certainly bet on the ones which are NFC-compatible.

    But anyway, it’s great that these are becoming available. They give the web-heads a running start on developing NFC services, so it does not fall on the HW/device guys only.

    I’m very excited :-)

  4. Posted 29 September 2008 at 19:43 | Permalink

    Great compilation Timo. It will be intriguing to see how the - whatever - service/app/experiences will become!

9 Trackbacks

  1. By RFID and physical social networks · Touch on 30 September 2008 at 16:11

    [...] platform, with physical, RFID-based objects that plug into a PC via USB (where have we heard that [...]

  2. [...] RFID peripherals · Touch (tags: usb tangible tag products pc research rfid) [...]

  3. [...] évidemment, dans cet atelier, il était possible d’utiliser et de voir fonctionner plusieurs de ces périphériques de l’internet des objets : comme le Mir:ror que lance bientôt Violet ou le Tikitag, dès à présent [...]

  4. By Notional Slurry » links for 2008-10-03 on 3 October 2008 at 14:11

    [...] RFID peripherals · Touch (tags: RFID makers kits engineering DIY) [...]

  5. [...] évidemment, dans cet atelier, il était possible d’utiliser et de voir fonctionner plusieurs de ces périphériques de l’internet des objets : comme le Mir:ror que lance bientôt Violet ou le Tikitag, dès à présent [...]

  6. [...] kids at beaches and themeparks for years too and you can even lose weight with a tag. And there is more that can make friends based on rfid [...]

  7. By Designing with RFID · Touch on 17 February 2009 at 20:07

    [...] To understand the ways that RFID tags have been designed into consumer products, we conducted a product review that documents the physical aspects of RFID products from around the world. This has been a process of reflection on existing industrial and consumer products that includes a range of cards, keyfobs and tokens, the Mattel Hyperscan games console, Star Wars Commtech figures, Brio Network and Violet Ztamps and other RFID peripherals. [...]

  8. By From ubicomp to service design on 13 March 2009 at 16:02

    [...] to a network full of personal information and social connections, and where NFC phones and RFID peripherals are just the touchpoints between the online and the [...]

  9. [...] plug and play RFID peripherals [...]

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