Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Beneficent Technology

As immensely useful as RFID can be, it is often in the news for the wrong reasons. PSFK's article on the RFID enabled "Smart Cane" for the visually impaired is a great example of what is possible when technology is brought to bear upon a problem that until then had no good solutions. In another context an RFID-GPS combination would be perfectly 1984-esque but in this situation it only sets someone with a visual impairment freerer than they might have been able to be. A not so happy use of the same technology would perhaps be something like the M-Meter:

"Together with FOCUS, we have adapted this technology, which has so far primarily been used in logistics and inventory management, unconventionally and creatively for better research of readership", explains Dominik Berger, Managing Director of RF-iT Solutions and inventor of the so-called "M-Meter". To that end, stamp-sized miniature chips are applied on each double page, and a reading device specially developed for FOCUS delivers accurate data from the test households showing who used which page of an issue when, how often and for how long. The use of editorial content as well as contact with advertisements can be measured passively in a magazine for the first time.

1 comment:

Destination Infinity said...

It is true that RFID is a great technology but still now been used only for tracking inventory in large warehouses and the likes! RFID is combined with GPS, Cellular and Wi-Fi technologies these days to track inventory end-to-end. It is good to see such technologies being used for the betterment of blind people. Even speech recognition technology is being used for similar purposes - to enable them to operate a computer through voice commands. I wish more projects like that take shape and the Governments sponsor them as well.

Destination Infinity