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RFID Helps Texas Theme Park Cater to Special-Needs Guests

Morgan's Wonderland says the technology helps its visitors feel safe and comfortable, ensuring that they receive any assistance they might require, and that they do not get lost or wander off.
By Claire Swedberg
The park has installed 33 RF Code 433 MHz readers, to create 33 separate zones within the site. At any given time, anyone in the park is within read range of one of the interrogators. The active tag in the wristband transmits to the reader with a read range of between 50 and 400 feet, depending on how the interrogators are adjusted to receive those transmissions, based on their location within the park and their nearness to other readers. That location information, says Eric Couch, RFIDTec's chief architect, is then forwarded to the Safety Zone software on the park's back-end system via a cabled connection.

If a group's leader loses someone from his party, he can visit one of five RFID-enabled kiosks installed around the park. At the kiosk, he places his wristband within range of a reader, which reads the wristband's passive HF tag. The software then pulls up the ID numbers for all members in his group, and displays the location of each person as named icons on a displayed map of the site, shown on the kiosk monitor.


A Location Station kiosk
At some exhibits, such as a simulated newsroom, visitors can have their pictures taken and e-mailed to them. In this case, a visitor taps his or her wristband near an RFID reader, and the passive LF tag is read and linked to an e-mail address provided at the time of registration. The park's staff can then send the picture to that address.

In case an individual requires help, several employees carry handheld RFID interrogators. In such an event, they can read that person's passive HF tag and view a display listing his or her name, along with any medical information input at the time of registration.

When guests leave the park, their wristbands are read with handheld HF interrogators a final time, and the Denim software verifies that all members of that group are present before the wristbands are returned to the park's staff and the guests are allowed to exit. The wristbands are then cleaned and later reassigned to subsequent visitors.

"People have told us, 'This is amazing—how does it work?'" Albarian says. The RFID system, he adds, "is one of the things that makes families feel at ease. These kids are enjoying themselves in the park, and parents are able to relax without worrying about their child."

USER COMMENTS

Paul Roebuck 2010-05-20 04:36:01 PM
General Manager It is this type of application of RFID that makes me extremely proud to be associated with the altruistic systems integrators in our industry. God Bless you and the STAR foundation.

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