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Flomio Brings NFC RFID to 3D Objects

The company has launched a service in which it manufactures figurines and other three-dimensional plastic objects with embedded RFID tags, for applications that include marketing and gaming.
By Claire Swedberg
Feb 22, 2013Near Field Communication (NFC) RFID technology startup Flomio is bringing gaming to sales events, concerts and festivals, with a service that embeds NFC RFID tags in three-dimensional plastic objects. Flomio got its start in 2012 with the launch of its FloJack NFC reader module for the Apple iPad, the iPhone and newest version of the iPod Touch. The firm was successful in its effort to raise the funds it needed to bring the FloJack to market (see NFC App Developer Flomio Looks to Kickstart Its NFC Reader for Apple Devices), says Richard Grundy, the company's founder, and the first units are expected to be shipped next month.

Now, Flomio is bridging the gap between the gaming industry and the real world, with NFC RFID tags built into toys, figurines and other small plastic items, known as 3D Printables, that can be interrogated by readers on game consoles or mobile phones, or at concerts or other public events.

The Gema Tag contains five NFC RFID inlays, each rendered operable at the press of a button.

Customers can send Flomio a 3D solid model file (in .stl format), and choose the object's size, up to 15 cubic centimeters (0.9 cubic inches), tag type and color of plastic (white, green or blue). Flomio will then employ a 3D printer to manufacture that object, with the RFID tag embedded inside. The company charges 50 cents per cubic centimeter, as well as a $4 handling fee per item, plus the cost of the NFC tag and shipping.

"Once customers are satisfied with the product and its read performance," Grundy explains, "Flomio offers large-scale manufacturing services as well. Costs vary based on material, quantity and turnaround time."

Plow Digital, which creates games for cell phones, tablets and other mobile electronic devices, as well as for Web sites, is currently in discussions with customers looking to use the 3D Printables with the Plow Digital interactive software as part of their own marketing events, or at other festivals or shows.

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