Home Internet of Things Aerospace Apparel Energy Defense Health Care Logistics Manufacturing Retail

Access This Premium Content

Options To Access This Article:

What Subscribers Are Saying

  • "Probably the best investment I've ever made."
    Steve Meizlish, President & CEO, MeizCorp Services, Inc.
  • "I have found that RFID Journal provides an objective viewpoint of RFID. It you are looking for a resource that provides insights as to the application and implications of deploying RFID, RFID Journal will meet your needs, It gives you a broad perspective of RFID, beyond the retail supply chain."
    Mike O'Shea, Director of Corporate AutoID/RFID Strategies & Technologies, Kimberly-Clark Corp.
  • "No other source provides the consistent value-added insight that Mark Robert and his staff do. In a world dominated by press release after press release, RFID Journal is developing as the one place to go to make the most sense out of the present and future of RFID in commerce."
    Bob Hurley, Project Leader for RFID, Bayer HealthCare's Consumer Care Division
  • "RFID Journal is the one go-to source for information on the latest in RFID technology."
    Bruce Keim, Director, Hewlett-Packard
  • "RFID Journal is the only source I need to keep up to the minute with the happenings in the RFID world."
    Blair Hawley, VP of Supply Chain, Remington Products Company

Turning Tablets Into Playland

By combining NFC technology and optical sensors, a startup hopes to enable tablets to recognize and interact with multiple toys simultaneously.
By Mark Roberti
Feb 19, 2014

Kids love their toys. They also love games on tablets, so it was inevitable that companies would invent toys that interact with scenes displayed on tablets. Disney, for example, has developed AppMATes. Small cars modeled after characters in the animated movie Cars 2 have touch sensors that allow them to interact with the touch screen. As children move the cars, they can interact with images in a Cars application.

The current toys use touch technology, so only a few toys can be on the tablet surface at once. A company called IdentiToy hopes to overcome that limitation. Using Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, a tablet would be able to identify numerous toys on the tablet screen simultaneously. An optical sensor in the base of each toy would get position data from the tablet, which would be relayed back to the tablet via the NFC transponder. This would enable the screen to change as the position of the toys change.

IdentiToy's CEO, Arjuna Karunaratne, says the optical sensor and NFC tag (pictured above) are designed to fit in a small toy car. (Photo: IdentiToy)
IdentiToy has developed a prototype to prove the concept works and is offering an evaluation kit developers can use to create toys. The firm hopes to make money by licensing the technology. "There's a huge market for toys that can be put on a tablet to create an interactive experience," says CEO Arjuna Karunaratne. "That's what we are trying to promote."

The system won't work with most current tablets, because they don't have NFC readers and don't communicate position through a grid in the tablet screen. But Karunaratne says with a slight modification, the LEDs used to backlight tablet screens could create a grid with position data that would be communicated back to the tablet through an NFC chip, overcoming the limits of touch-based options.

"Imagine a child places a toy figure on a tablet, and the NFC reader in the tablet recognizes the toy," he says. "The device goes out to an external database, downloads the appropriate app and launches the app. And the child starts playing."

The concept could also be used for adult games. People could place chess pieces on a virtual chessboard, and the position of each piece could be saved, so the players could resume the game in the future. It could be a good teaching tool, as well. Placing an item on a tablet would call up interactive information about the object.

"I see this as being a part of the capabilities of all touch screens someday," Karunaratne says. "All devices will emit the position, and then people can use that information to have objects interact with the screen. The first tablet maker that provides positioning data and NFC capabilities will likely do well, just as Samsung benefited from embracing NFC technology in its phones."

To continue reading this article, please log in or choose a purchase option.

Option 1: Become a Premium Member.

One-year subscription, unlimited access to Premium Content: $189

Gain access to all of our premium content and receive 10% off RFID Reports and RFID Events!

Option 2: Purchase access to this specific article.

This article contains 475 words and 1 page. Purchase Price: $19.99

Upgrade now, and you'll get immediate access to:

  • Case Studies

    Our in-dept case-study articles show you, step by step, how early adopters assessed the business case for an application, piloted it and rolled out the technology.

    Free Sample: How Cognizant Cut Costs by Deploying RFID to Track IT Assets

  • Best Practices

    The best way to avoid pitfalls is to know what best practices early adopters have already established. Our best practices have helped hundreds of companies do just that.

  • How-To Articles

    Don’t waste time trying to figure out how to RFID-enable a forklift, or deciding whether to use fixed or mobile readers. Our how-to articles provide practical advice and reliable answers to many implementation questions.

  • Features

    These informative articles focus on adoption issues, standards and other important trends in the RFID industry.

    Free Sample: Europe Is Rolling Out RFID

  • Magazine Articles

    All RFID Journal Premium Subscribers receive our bimonthly RFID Journal print magazine at no extra cost, and also have access to the complete online archive of magazine articles from past years.

Become a member today!

RFID Journal LIVE! RFID in Health Care LIVE! LatAm LIVE! Brasil LIVE! Europe RFID Connect Virtual Events RFID Journal Awards Webinars Presentations