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Terror Gets Personal at RFID-Equipped Haunted House

The Nest, located in Arizona, is using an EPC UHF RFID solution from Fish Technology to link visitors to their Facebook pages, enabling the system to use personal information to terrify each patron.
By Claire Swedberg
While queuing to enter the Nest, guests begin receiving phone calls from an actor posing as Killer Kell, warning them of their imminent death. Inside the Nest, they then pass a total of eight Impinj Speedway Revolution readers installed at various sections of the haunted house. At each section, a reader captures the badge's ID number and sends that information to Fish Technology's server, which accesses data and images from the Facebook page and provides it to the Brightline interactive system, in order to personalize the scare that the individual receives at that location. For example, when walking through what appears to be a cemetery, a visitor passes a tombstone adorned with digital lettering. As the badge tag is read, the system retrieves that individual's date of birth from Facebook and forwards that data to the Brightline server, which then lists the individual's name, date of birth and date of death (that day) on the tombstone for him or her to see.

At another location, the visitor sees a projected image of his or her face modified to look gruesome. Elsewhere, that person may see projected images of some of his or her friends, similarly altered to provide a creepy appearance.

Throughout the site, actors—of which there are about 110—view a monitor that displays the name of each individual who passes. The workers can then call out to the guest by name, or just whisper the name as he or she passes.

In addition, says Matt Engelthaler, Fish Technology's sales manager, another reader is installed at a point at which a camera photographs people "in mid-scare." The photo is linked to that individual's ID in Fish Technology's software, and is then sent to Facebook for posting on that participant's page.

Although UHF technology enables tags to be read at a long enough distance that guests need not interact with the readers, Kopelman says, there were still some challenges in developing the technology. For example, he observes, some girls and women tend to cling to the backs of their boyfriends walking ahead of them, thereby obstructing their own tags' transmissions. Fish Technology has managed to bypass this problem, however, through tag design and the placement of reader antennas, Engelthaler reports.

The Nest intends to use approximately 3,500 RFID badges to ensure that all patrons can receive a badge. Guests return the badges at the end of the night, at which time each badge is recycled, to be linked to a new patron. Fish Technology has found that it experiences about an 85 percent opt-in rate among visitors in other applications, and expects a similar rate at The Nest.

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