Winner of ‘Contest for a Cause’ Announced

Xtreme RFID, in collaboration with RFID Journal, has announced that Edward Blackman, from Caledonia, Mich., is the competition's winner.
Published: April 17, 2012

I recently wrote about Xtreme RFID‘s Contest for a Cause, launched in collaboration with RFID Journal (see RFID for a Good Cause). On Apr. 9, Xtreme RFID, a Cascade Engineering company, announced that Edward Blackman, from Caledonia, Mich., is the competition’s winner.

Blackman was selected for a project known as Open Books, designed to promote literacy and education through volunteer participation and radio frequency identification technology. The initiative offers volunteer students of all ages the opportunity to be paired with a student or school district within a disadvantaged neighborhood. Upon visiting their school or local library, volunteer students can scan their RFID-enabled library cards in order to accumulate credits for their visits, as well as for the number of books they check out. The credits will translate into monetary or in-kind donations for their partner or designated school district.

Donations can be solicited on a sponsorship basis from individuals or literacy organizations, as well as through fundraisers organized by the volunteer student or school district. The funds can be used to purchase educational materials. In-kind donations could equip the sponsored school district with library books or other supplies, which can then be outfitted with RFID technology to track how often they are used, in addition to where they are distributed. Students will also have the opportunity to develop a pen-pal relationship, in which they can exchange ideas and life experiences, thereby gaining a better understanding of each other and expanding their cultural and social competency.

The Contest for a Cause offered RFID experts, engineers, technicians and activists the opportunity to conceive new ways in which to use RFID technologies to positively impact social causes. Attendees at RFID Journal LIVE! 2012 voted on which of three finalists they preferred, and Blackman’s submission won.

The main criteria for submission were that all ideas address a social cause, use RFID as part of the solution and not have been implemented prior to the contest. One goal of the competition was to start a discussion regarding how this technology can play a role in driving real and lasting change.

As the winner, Blackman received $5,000 worth of consulting, engineering and equipment, for use in bringing his idea to life. According to Xtreme RFID, this support will help him with the logistics of partnering with existing libraries or schools to implement Open Books.

“I am honored and grateful for the opportunity to utilize the RFID technology to benefit the community,” Blackman said in a statement released by Xtreme RFID. “As the project develops, participants can partner together to see how the lessons learned from this small initiative may apply on a larger scale.”

Mark Roberti is the founder and editor of RFID Journal. If you would like to comment on this article, click on the link below. To read more of Mark’s opinions, visit the RFID Journal Blog, the Editor’s Note archive or RFID Connect.