Archive for the ‘RFID’ Category

The demo

July 30, 2006


In late June I recreated Attention Please in demo form for Richard Willacy, from Birmingham Opera Company, who I met at the diffraction conference who was interested in the performative side of the project and the use of technology.
We had a really interesting discussion about how to use technology in a performative and participatory capacity for which I feel there is very little conclusion and there is as much of an emphasis on the context you create as how you use the technology.

I hope our discussion helped Richard with his research, I’m looking forward to finding out what paths they take! Here is some text given to me by Richard about the research project and the company.

The research project is for Birmingham Opera Company, where Richard is the Associate Director, headed by Graham Vick. The company produces high quality ‘participatory’ opera which stands alongside the solely ‘professional’ national companies and thus for example winning South Bank Show Award for Best Opera and well as RPS Award for New Audience Development. Birmingham Opera are interested to find new tools which enable a greater access and ‘investment’ in opera by established and new audiences, to explore new ways of communicating with new audiences who may be present in the performance venue or in remote locations via broadcast media for projects in 2007 and beyond.

The project also continues work Richard did as Artist in Residence at into uses of new media with non linear narrative, some of that research will be used for a new media collaboration called Creating Space.


Attention Informer

May 23, 2006


Using the model of the Attention Seeker a tool bar appears once swiped to inform a viewer the current point in the duration of the film.

Like the Attention Seeker we made for the experiment, it could discreatly fade in and out at the bottom of the screen, show the duration of the video and indicate through the timeline bar what stage the video is at when you swipe. Because the unique identification number on the card for this application is not required, it would be possible to use cheaper, lower frequency tags and readers, or even use this function inconjunction with others.

This idea also goes hand in hand with, Attention (Re)Starter, where the swipe actually takes you to the beginning of the film. The problem with this idea is the same as the egg timers you get in sauna's, if it has been started before you, you need to wait either until others have left or until its ready to start again anyway. But maybe if the reader could see everyone enter and exit the screening space, it would know if you were alone and know if it were able to restart the video.

Open Call

April 18, 2006

AP logo

We're seeking gallery goers in Liverpool to take part in an interactive experiment. The experiment asks nothing more than for you, the audience to give your attention. “Attention Please!” is a video installation with a difference; your attention is important and valuable, pay your attention carefully, and it will be rewarded.

Artist Sara Smith is working with technology partner Kisky Netmedia on this experiment using RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology. We're mixing techno tags with vivacious video. We're exploring presence and your effect on the art.

As people, ideas and hot new products compete for our attention through TVs, billboards, and the Internet, do they know if we're really paying attention? What if your attention can be measured? What happens when we pay attention to art? And if we do, will it change or react? Will it know? Does it matter? It does now.

We're looking for individuals and groups to participate in our experiment. Come alone, bring your friends or family; it's fun!

Pay attention at

The Box, FACT, 88 Wood Street, Liverpool, L1 4DQ.

03 & 04 May 2pm – 6pm

Just turn up.
If you want to bring a group before 2pm or only finish work at 6pm and want to come afterwards, contact us and we would be happy to accommodate you!

Looking forward to seeing you!

Writing to tags

April 17, 2006

paul pc and mac

The software that comes with the reader enables you to write 255 blocks of 4 characters to the tags, but what can you do with this after that? Does the tag need interrogating to retrieve this information, or will it send it out whenever it is read?

The reader has to switched (using the software) between read or write mode, each tag has to be added through the inventory reader (same device just in another mode) before it can be written to.
When in write mode (ISO host write) you need to select the tag you are working with input characters you want to write then send to the tag, then the COM interface can read this information when in Scan Mode (HID). This software is only PC format and appear quite complicated but it gives you the basic facilities to use the tags.

For our experiment, we are talking specifically about attention and audience participation-is it even important that we can write to the tag? I feel its important that we investigate this process as its something that makes the tags unique other than their ID number. We have been talking about the notion of rewarding our visitor's by giving them their tag (transponder) with their name written on it.
We could add another terminal to the set-up and use a PC with the COM interface software to simply write to the tag, but this would involve either using our registration reader or purchasing a fifth reader that we simply don't have budget for.
Or if we could find someone to write a Mac application that could be linked with our registration terminal that could write to the tag, but this is a low priority gimmick, only to be added if someone (else) can come up with an easy solution!

Mediamatic meet and the secret Symbolic Table

April 17, 2006


Mediamatic live in the Post CS Building, Amsterdam, they have been running workshops on RFID since July 2005 (there next workshop is coming up in early May see Katie's pervious post RFID & the Internet of Things). We wanted to say "Hi" tell them about our project and see if any thing interesting came up. We explained our project, the ITEM brief and our progress with the technology.


My first realisation was that our project RFID DIY, and we are finding out what the technology can do and including building drivers where needed ourselves, and our first and may other peoples first conclusion is that the tags are essentially keyboard, they print out their unique ID number.The second conclusion was that to do anything really exciting with the technology your talking about the ultra high frequency readers, and several of them with is mega bucks!

They have been investigating the new Nokia phones that have RFID readers in them, for near field communication (NFC) they only work with specific tags, but its an interesting switch of the use of the technology as the user has the reader not tagged with a transponder! (more…)

The shopping list

April 14, 2006

 RFID components

So what have we bought?
We have purchased the cheaper of the readers available that are high frequency (13.56MHz) rather than ultra high frequency (915MHz), the limitations are a typical reading distance of only 18cm (max distance I have found was 1.2m), but the UHF readers require external antennas which increases the range of the reader dramatically. The FEIG reader can be supplied as either RS232 connection (with separate power supply) or USB – we chose USB version.
The tags come in all shapes and sizes that signifies the amount of data the can be written to the tags. Remember when buying the tags to make sure they are the same frequency as the readers other wise they just won't work (thanks Scott, from BuyRFID!!!!).

I got quotes from BuyRFID (US) and RFID Components Ltd (UK) both of which were very helpful, supportive and competitive quotes.

3 FEIG PR101 USB Proximity Reader
250 13.56MHz Vicinity Card Transponders (or we could have purchased White Film Tags TIT – WFL 13.56MHz, from BuyRFID)

The RFID setup!

April 10, 2006


We have been working with a test set up, trying out various software and hardware solutions, and after an initial period of not much going on, we've now got our preferred setup defined. I want to outline it here….

It may be useful to outline the issues we have faced with using RFID to impact on video content within the gallery. Firstly, our aims as the technology partner are to research what can and what cannot be done with RFID, and helping Sara translate that into a valuable audience experience. As RFID is about interaction, the audience is the experiment as much as the work is and so the audience / art interface is very transparent. By asking the audience to actively 'pay attention' they are willing participants in this data exchange.

So… we are currently using the RFID reader kit from FEIG. It is connected via USB to a Mac. (We had to use a PC to set the box up to work in that way, but it now works with a Mac). We are then using the RFID reader basically as a keyboard. It outputs the serial number of the tag, we can read that in as text.


We have made a simple Cocoa application to handle what we do with that output. So then we can use junXion from STEIM, with Isadora, or potentially use Isadora on its own.


We can assign different actions in Isadora to different events from the RFID box.




(Video before and after the Isadora effect triggered by the RFID 'attention'.) We can also potentially write to the tags. This may be a great way of 'registering' participants. The participants will then take their data away with them as they leave with their 'attention card'.

We will document the detailed set up for reference later on.
Tags: rfid, , , , .

RFID & the Internet of Things

April 8, 2006

Ant with RFID dust

Mediamatic is hosting another workshop on RFID. “RFID & the Internet of Things” is taking place 9th – 11th May 2006.

From their website: “RFID will play a pivotal role in fusing the physical world with the digital. RFID allows for the unique identification of objects, and any kind of online data can be linked to these unique ID’s.
Here is where the real world and the internet become two faces of the same reality. Things go online.”

It’s a pitty it wil be after our experiment has taken place – but for others working the RFID it’s a must do event!

Networking at Diffraction

April 7, 2006


Earlier this week we were at the Diffraction conference at FACT, my technology partners KISKY were invited to present at the conference on "emerging issues and the way ahead". They had been documenting the conference and uploading everything to flickr and in their breakout group session they made a podcast, which was well attended by past and present ITEM artists.
The conference was a really good opportunity for me to not only hear about past projects and experiences, the wider discussion of arts, technology, industry and science but to start talking about my project, to meet some of the other present ITEM artist and people working with RFID. Everyone's projects are at different stages, and there were a lot of shocked faces when I told them our experiment was happening in a month. The pressure's on!!

Lots of people said they would be following the blog – I can't wait to hear what you have to say.

Call for Proposals at SPACE Media Arts, London

April 7, 2006

space tagged

Tagged: Electronic tagging and RFID commissions

SPACE Media Arts invites proposals for a series of four artist commissions that explore creative use and context of electronic tagging technology, in particular RFID.

In keeping with SPACE Media Arts core objective to engage diversify access to emergent technology, proposals that have a public art focus or that show an understanding of the communities in which they will be presented are particularly encouraged.

Deadline for proposals: Friday, April 28, 2006

RFID Kit Arrived

March 30, 2006

RFID Reader from FEIG

Last week it arrived. We've been so busy playing with it we forgot to mention it! It's all good so far. In order to make it work with our Mac setup we may need to write a driver for it. This will get it to output the right stuff for Isadora. More on this later.


March 10, 2006

Tagsware Logo

We have downloaded a trial of Tagsware and as soon as we get our dev kit, we’ll beging evaluating this software. It does far more than we need for our arts project, but it looks pretty impressive, who knows we might find some quirky stuff to do with it. Tagsware is partuicularly impressive as it runs on a UNIX platform; so we’ll hoepfully run it on Mac OS X Server and use its Java capabilities tointegrate with a WebObjects Application!