Sunday, May 27, 2007

New shopping tags will be helpful to the visually impaired!

An RFID wireless tag with embedded memory from Cirencester-based Innovision Research and Technology has been used in a system to help visually-impaired people when buying items in shops.The system, which is called Seeingeyephone, uses near-field communications (NFC), the RFID tag reader and tag emulation technology to allow handhelds, predominantly mobile phones, to connect to and interact with tagged objects and tag readers by magnetic coupling.

Seeingeyephone is aimed at customers unable to read product information in shops. A Topaz RFID tag containing an ID, address and product-specific data such as the price, use-by date and nutritional values, is attached to the shelf next to each product. When the customer holds an NFC-enabled handset to the tag, the text-based information is retrieved, and the phone’s text-to-speech synthesiser feeds the information to the user in his or her chosen language.

“We were inspired not only by the creativity and practicality of some of the applications on display, but excited by the very positive response we got to our Topaz tag,” said Marc Borrett, business development Director at Innovision.At least one chip firm, NXP Semiconductors, believes NFC will become a standard technology included in every mobile phone.Developed by the Technical Research Centre of Finland, the project recently won ‘Most Innovative NFC Proposal of the Year’ at the Wireless Information Multimedia Applications 2007 event in Monaco.


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