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RFID Brings Italian History to Life

An interactive exhibition in Turin uses HF passive tags and readers to enable users to select topics that interest them, and to then access additional information at home.
By Claire Swedberg
Feb 03, 2012One way in which Italy has celebrated the 150th anniversary of its unification is with an exhibit employing a very modern technology, radio frequency identification, to access historical information about the nation. Launched last year in the city of Turin, the exhibit, known as "Fare gli italiani. 150 anni di storia nazionale" (Making Italians: 150 Years of National History), was a success with visitors, and will thus run for another nine months in 2012.

Each visitor receives an RFID card that he or she can use to personalize the visit, and to create a record of the sections of the exhibit that interest that individual, by tapping an RFID card against a reader.

'The program brings Italian history to life for visitors, via photographs, video and text, and enables a user to personalize and create a record of his or her experience, based on each particular exhibit at which that person taps an RFID card against a reader dedicated to that exhibit. The technology, provided by value-added distributor Softwork. using RFID readers from Feig Electronic, allows exhibition visitors not only to access data and media that interests them, but also to create a record of those topics, which can then be forwarded to an e-mail address upon request, enabling them to browse through additional information at home. What's more, RFID tags on books and photo plates enable users to learn more while at the exhibition, simply by placing an item of interest on a reader, thereby prompting the playing of video or text and pictures.

Visitors insert tagged slides into an easel to view various videos related to Italian farming.

Last year marked the 150th anniversary of the joining of the peninsula's various independent states into a single, unified nation, and commemorative events were held throughout Italy, many located in Turin, the country's first capital city. The Making Italians exhibition, installed at Turin's Officine Grandi Riparazioni, was put together by Studio Azzurro Praduzioni, an Italian artistic studio, and was financed by the city. It tells a story of Italy's past century and a half, through a series of interactive exhibits featuring different aspects of the nation's history. That includes not only screens containing video, text and photos, but also interactive exhibits offering greater detail about specific individuals and eras that users can select. The exhibit opened in March 2011 and received a total of 420,000 visitors before closing last November. It is slated to reopen in March of this year, and will remain in operation until November 2012.

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