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.

RFID Helps Deaf Children Learn Sign Language

Posted by Ken Lynch on Tue, Aug 31, 2010 @ 03:55 AM

Tags: RFID, RFID in the Classroom, RFID Enabled Toys

Computer Program and RFID-Enabled Toys Designed to Help Preschoolers Learn Faster

Back to SchoolThis post was sourced from Twitter with credit going to @zanderliving.  The tweet linked to a recent blog article from Trridev Labelss Mfg. Co, a provider of automation solutions and barcoding equipment, and struck a chord with me as so many kids are on their way back to school this month. 

As teachers prepare their classrooms and lesson plans, imagine the extra care taken by those who are planning for rooms full of kids with special needs.  A group of researchers are hoping to make the transition from summer fun to structured classroom a little easier for deaf children by developing an RFID-based system that combines RFID-enabled toys and a computer program to teach sign language.

The Trridev Labelss blog article is posted below:

Thanks to a computer program and RFID-enabled toys, preschoolers learn faster

A group of researchers in the United States are developing a system that uses RFID to teach sign language to very young children.

While there are a whole variety of computer-based sign language learning programs, none of them are very well adapted to the special learning needs of 3 to 5 year olds. The professors and researchers in question have created a system that combines toys and a computer to make sign language more real and more understandable for preschoolers and their parents and teachers.

RFID tags are embedded into several dozens toys, each representing an airplane, dog, cat, car, house, boat and so forth. When a child brings one of the toys up to an RFID reader situated near the computer, the computer screen automatically shows a video of a person demonstrating that item’s sign, as well as several other images of that item. The program also displays the printed word on the screen and speaks the word out loud, for the benefit of parents or educators who can hear. 

The importance of starting to learn any language, including sign language, as early as possible in childhood is very well known. By allowing educators to link actual objects that can be seen and held with their sign, RFID is helping make it easier for very young deaf children to build a solid foundation in learning.

With technology in the classroom changing so rapidly, it is heartening to see that innovation is reaching children of all learning abilities.  Now, with new clothes purchased, school lunches packed and an early morning routine re-established - it's back to school.

Feel free to share your experience with technology in the classroom below.  How else could RFID be used to help students learn and teachers teach?

Trridev Labelss cited http://www.discoverrfid.org/ as the original article source.

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