Little plastic bunnies look to bring RFID under your roof!
The Parisians who brought us WiFi-enabled plastic bunnies that can waggle their ears and talk are back, this time with a home RFID (radio frequency ID) reader. The Mir:ror joins the Nabaztag:tag rabbit communicator as part of Violet's attempt to create an "Internet of things."
The Mirrror is a small, dish-like scanner that attaches via USB to a computer; software is available for Mac OS X and Windows. Pass an appropriate RFID tag over the device, and it reads the tag and performs whatever sequence you've selected. What can you do with an RFID tag? That's where it gets a little silly to this bunny's nose.
Industry has been adopting RFID in fits and starts, using the tags as a way to track people and things across space—largely in warehouses or at passport check points. WalMart made a famous and now largely recanted announcement in 2004 that its top suppliers would be required to tag all their pallets to certain of the company's distribution centers. This was supposed to make tracking enormously more efficient and accurate. That initiative has progressed hardly at all since.
But Violet sees a place for RFID in the home. Violet uses a combination of postage-stamp-like Ztamp:s and miniature rabbits called Nano:ztags, which can be paired with actions and behavior. (The company, whose media relations person is authentically surnamed Kitten, is a little too fond of cutesy names, punctuation, and orthography.) Additions
When it comes to applications, however, Violet has a long list that doesn't sound very compelling to me. Using Web applications, the various RFID tags can be paired with activities, like pulling in an RSS feed and reading stories through a speech synthesizer; launching programs and opening files; or retrieve email messages unique to a special email address assigned to each object.
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