Holiday Gift Idea: Game On RFID!

Posted by Ken Lynch on Wed, Dec 14, 2011 @ 11:05 AM

Tags: RFID, Gaming, RFID Enabled Toys, Smart Objects

SkylandersKids are harder to please come holiday time every year.  The more that technology goes into toys, the more kids expect from them.  The Wii and Xbox Kinect have set the bar high for the use of wireless technology in game play.  Action figures are downright boring if they don’t make wondrous sounds. They need RFID to really make them interesting.

That reality is here with one of the hottest gifts for the 2011 holiday season.  Activision, the company that brought the “Guitar Hero” franchise to life, has introduced Skylanders, the latest innovation in gaming technology.  Through the use of plastic action figures that act as thumb drives for storing data, users are able to connect wirelessly to a video game system with each of the figures serving as an independent wireless storage device.

The action figures have RFID chips that are read by the “Portal of Power” on which they are placed.  This allows users to play with the figures on one gaming system and transport them to other locations and different systems without losing any of the stored data so they can pick up at the point they left off.  For example, a gamer could start off a skylander mission on his PlayStation 3 and complete the adventure on a Wii system without any loss of status or interruption of game play.  This has never been possible before.

It is being speculated in the gaming industry that if the Skylander franchise takes off as expected, it will lead to other game manufactures such as Nintendo with its popular Mario brand to begin producing its own version.  This is incredibly exciting news for the makers of RFID technology as gaming is one of the fastest growing industries in existence.  If anyone has any doubts to this, try finding a shopping plaza these days that doesn’t have a GameStop store.

As RFID technology continues to become more a part of our daily lives it stands to reason that we will see even more breakthroughs in the areas of entertainment in the years to come.  And with the consumer of this technology being much more tech savvy than previous generations, companies are going to be forced to push the envelope of innovation in order to capture market share. 

This is good news for consumers and RFID alike.

Image credit: Activision Publishing, Inc.

Shredding It with Sensors

Posted by Ken Lynch on Fri, Sep 24, 2010 @ 01:36 PM

Tags: RFID, Sensors, Social Networks, Connected Devices, Gaming

Nokia and Burton Boards Combine the Misty Flip with Mobile Apps

I admit it - I’m starting to sound like a broken record on this topic, but I think solutions like these will introduce RFID and sensing technologies to the mass consumer market, leading to a very interesting convergence of RFID and wireless sensor data capture, social networks and the mobile web.  And, they’re just plain cool!

In an earlier post titled RFID Predictions, I mentioned that I have long thought that there was a natural connection between RFID and social networks, and that someday this enabling technology and would collide with the massive reach of the social web.  I pointed to Epic Mix – a combination RFID tags in lift tickets, RFID readers on the slopes, mobile applications, social networks, and virtual currency – as an example.

In my email inbox today was another interesting example of the combination of wireless sensors, mobile devices and connected games.  It started with the Nokia Push project in 2009 which integrates small sensors into skateboards to capture motion data about the tricks and movements of riders.  This program has recently been extended to a collaboration with Burton Snowboards where similar data from snowboard rides is pushed to a Nokia phone and displayed in a game-like interface.  Sharing this information via Twitter and Facebook is a natural extension of the application, presumably providing new opportunities for mountain operators and retailers to connect with their customers.

Your thoughts?  Will this example of a connected everyday object – where in-vehicle RFID can be used to make sure your boarding equipment is in your car and sensors allow you to share your experience on the slopes with the world in real time – enhance your experience on the slopes?

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