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Computer Graphics Firm Adds 3-D to RFID

A 3-D computer graphics developer wants to use radio frequency identification to enable devices to understand and interact physically in the real world.
By Jonathan Collins
Apr 05, 2006Although De Espona Infografica has more than 20 years of experience working with three-dimensional computer graphics for movies, videogames and computer simulation, the Madrid-based firm admits it is a novice in the world of radio frequency identification and artificial intelligence. Even so, the 3-D computer graphics developer believes its approach could spur the development and deployment of robots and IT systems capable of interacting with physical objects in the real world.

The company's 3DFORM-ID concept system would use the memory of an RFID tag to contain data describing the three-dimensional form and physical properties of the object to which the tag was attached. Equipping a system with an RFID reader would allow it to detect the object and download its 3-D data, as well as that of any surrounding tagged objects, to re-create a three-dimensional scene identical to the detected environment. The system could also make dynamic three-dimensional predictions concerning the detected objects.

Jose Maria de Espona, CEO at De Espona Infografica, hopes RFID will enable 3D devices to understand and interact physically in the real world.

Espona believes such a system could enable multiple applications. For example, with everyday objects in a home fitted with 3DFORM-ID tags, domestic robots would be able to help people clean and maintain their homes. In another application, the 3-D information on tagged objects could be used to help packaging and shipping companies reduce the costs of packing, and to optimize the number of containers being transported, thereby lowering transport costs. De Esposa Infografica has already registered a patent for its 3DFORM-ID concept for use in a number of applications, including automated driving. Details of the applications can be found here.

With the 3DFORM-ID system, object information is stored not centrally, but locally, on RFID tags. "Including three-dimensional intelligence in an RFID-based system means a drastic decentralization," says Jose Maria de Espona, CEO at De Espona Infografica. "Any object can be understood totally by any other object equipped with readers and the computing capacity to run the 3DFORM-ID software, despite its location or whether or not its has a network connection."

RFID also provides a way for computers to understand objects around them without utilizing video cameras, which generate far greater amounts of data that must then be stored and processed, than a system using data collected from each object's tag.

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