iPhone RFID: Object Detector Prototype "Big Brother" for Toys?

Nearfield.org (via TUAW) brings us the above video, where innocent toys are scanned by an RFID-reading iPhone which then triggers media playback. Why?

This video prototype is basic and intended to open up for discussion and new exploration around the experience of media selection through physical objects. At the moment the interaction is a trigger, but what if the phone doesn’t just react as output but also as input to physical objects? How do we programme and manage our sets of media and applications in these objects?

Sounds good, but we've seen Terminator, the Matrix, and Battlestar Galactica and this is how it always starts. So, we pretty much figured The Powers That Be would be tagging and bagging us via RFID in one dystopian future or another. But going after our toys? Evil.

Still, there must be some use of iPhone and RFID that could be used for the good of humankind?

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

iPhone RFID: Object Detector Prototype "Big Brother" for Toys?


I don't know if RFID will ever really take off here like it has in Japan for example. I barely even use the one I have (Exxon Mobile Speed Pass) and I think many people are fine using their debit cards.
Wouldn't be surprised though if someone tries to mess around with the "in app purchase" idea. Maybe some how you could be in Best Buy and open up their app and buy something standing on the floor without going to the check out line. People might take to that, since everything goes over the net they might feel safer than an standard RFID that is broadcasting their ID every where they go.

Actually, I can see this being used at Museums and Zoos. Put this on your iPhone and as you walk past a Monet you get a video explaining the Monet painting and linking you to other information about the period, style or other Monet works. At the zoo, more information about the animal with more links.
Also, think of the cool stuff that you can use this for in a major metropolitan area if you were a historical society, or if you want to do a Ghost Walk for Halloween, etc. Can you picture this on the Hollywood Walk of Fame with each star having an embedded RFID? Movies, tv episodes, interviews, bloopers and much more!
Want a business application? Think of what a specialty retailer could do in a downtown area? Post videos of the special of the day or an exclusive item or links to the retailer's homepage for more information or a link to download a coupon.
Rene, I think we need to separate you from your DVD collection. It's creating a lot of bad thoughts. Besides, if Woody and Buzz had been lojacked with an RFID Andy would have had a much easier time with his move across town (and away from Sid).

Sure seems like you could use at a grocery store chain. Walk past healthy choice and get alerted to a coupon you can somehow download. Manufacturers might be scared away by the potentially high redemption rates.