RFID-equipped go-karts bring Mario Kart to life at SXSW

An article I wrote for Electronic Products.

One of Nintendo’s classic video games was turned into a reality

If you grew up playing Nintendo and were a fan of Mario Kart, you’ll be excited (and probably a bit jealous) to know that at South By Southwest (SXSW), a few drivers were lucky enough to strap into go-karts and tear down the track like Mario and Luigi.

Mario_Kart_Reimagined

Mario Kart Reimagined was a Nintendo lover’s dream come true. Image via trendhunter.com.

Pennzoil teamed up with Nintendo, who is about to release Mario Kart 8 for the Wii U, to sponsor Mario Kart Reimagined, where drivers raced karts equipped with radio frequency identification (RFID) sensors. Just like in the video game, racers had to either drive over or avoid icons, which were actually decals embedded with RFID tags. Depending on the item the driver received from the icon, kart performance improved with a boost of voltage to the motor or the kart slowed down to a putter for a few seconds. Read More

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RFID tags are talking, and they’re talking about you

An article I wrote for Electronic Products.

Because RFID technologies will know all about your spending habits (if they already don’t), making a trip to the store can be quick and easy

Whenever the radio-frequency identification (RFID) industry is able to lower the price of tags, stores will be stocked with networks of smart packages that can track every phase of the supply chain. Shelves will be filled with smart-labeled products that can be tracked from the second you make your purchase to the moment the product hits the trash can.

Used for identifying and tracking items, an RFID system, which is made up of a small memory-storage chip (tag), is usually placed on the bottom of an item. RFID emitters send out radio waves to detect tags and read their stored data, which can range from a small serial number to several pages.

RFID Tag

An RFID tag. Image via news.softpedia.com.

Though RFID may not be everywhere, things are quickly heading in that direction. When you walk into the local grocery store to do your weekly shopping, some of the products you regularly purchase may already be tracking your spending habits. Read More