RFID meets Open Sound Control

Have you been working on a MIDI controller that uses RFID to identify and control different instruments? No? Neither have we but now we’re going to have to look into it. That’s because [Martin.K] has done a lot of the work for us. His nfOSC package links an RFID reader to the Open Sound Control library.

In the video after the break we see [Martin] placing RFID tags onto a Touchatag reader. With each addition, his software triggers a tag add event that OSC picks up and translates to a midi event; in this case it adds a new instrument to the mix. Can this be used to relieve musicians from staring at computer screens during performances? What if there was a small shelf in front of you? As you happily play your electric Didgeridoo, small items with RFID tags on them can be added or removed from that shelf to change the samples that are triggered when toiling away on that sonic weapon. This should be fun!

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Duino tag


During our daily rounds we stumbled upon Duino Tag. Sure it’s not as awesome as a coil gun but it really sparked our imagination. First the base: an Arduino is wired up with IR LEDs and placed inside of a plastic pistol. A second Arduino with an IR receiver is scanning for the first Arduinos signal. A ‘shot’ of IR light is ‘fired’ and detected, you get a ‘kill’.

The base is nothing amazing, but it really gives us some ideas and we would like to see it expanded upon. [J44] has already put in a piezo and other LEDs to simulate muzzle flash and other effects. But we like to go further. Start off with multiple pistols and players. Include GPS to track players current position, and wireless to update each player of another player. A small wrist watch display could act much like a UAV. Add some expansions like IR ‘grenades’ and you’ve got a full-out war! What would you like to see?

Hackit: Consumer RFID


RFID seems to have invaded every part of our lives. Sure, the technology has been primarily used in government and industry, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have consumer applications. Recently, we posted about [max's] RFID dorm room lock, that he built to provide a safe, convenient way to access his room. A while back, we talked about an RFID spatially aware address book that used a combination of rfid tags and post-it notes to control the NFC enabled Nokia 3220 cell phone. Both of these projects highlight unique applications where RFID is used. We bash on RFID from time to time, mostly due to its security (or lack there of). That said, there is an interesting consumer solution out there for people who want to voluntarily use RFID called Touchatag (formerly known as Tikitag). The cool thing about Touchatag is that it uses a combination of RFID and QR (2-D barcode) tags to trigger applications on the Touchatag website. The starter kit, which includes 10 tags and a USB RFID reader, goes for about $40; a decent price considering the hacking potential for the RFID reader. In addition to using the reader, you can also use any NFC enabled phone to read the tags. While NFC enabled phones are currently few and far between, the technology will likely be implemented in many of the new phones released in the coming year.

We’re curious, what do you think is next for consumer RFID? What kind of innovative project ideas do you have?