LEGO® announces new RFID Sensor
Today, LEGO® has announced a partnership with Codatex Hainzlmaier GmbH & Co. KG, of Salzburg, Austria, to develop and market an RFID sensor that will seamlessly integrate into the NXT:
"BILLUND, Denmark, January 10, 2008
The LEGO Group today announced partnership with Codatex Hainzlmaier GmbH & Co. KG, of Salzburg, Austria to allow the manufacture and sale of hardware accessories certified by the LEGO Group for the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® NXT robotics toolset. This partnership represents the continued evolution of the company's commitment to community-driven innovation and open-source development surrounding its next generation robotics system.
The contract between the LEGO Group and Codatex was signed October 21, 2007 at LEGOWorld, an annual gathering of LEGO fans and community members in Europe, where a prototype sensor was demonstrated to attendees.
The third-party licensing agreement gives Codatex Hainzlmaier GmbH & Co. KG access to official LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT sensor housings to develop and market accessory sensors compatible with NXT that are complimentary to the look, style and function of the NXT toolset. Codatex sensors will integrate seamlessly within the NXT software programming environment and are tested to the same high quality and tolerance standards as the LEGO Groups own manufactured products.
RFID, which is short for Radio Frequency Identification, is a leading edge technology used in many industrial and commercial applications, like all kinds of access control, animal identification, supply chain management and many more. The first version of the new RFID Sensor will read 125 kHz transponders. The number stored in the transponders is of 5 byte length allowing a variety of more than 1 trillion combinations.
Within the LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT world the RFID sensor will allow users, for example, to protect their programs, so you can only start it with an individual key transponder. There is also an unlimited flexibility to program different actions upon identification of different transponders.
"We are thrilled to include Codatex as new licensee and look forward to add the RFID sensor to the LEGO MINDSTORMS portfolio of 3rd Party accessories," said Steven Canvin, Marketing Manager for LEGO MINDSTORMS. "We expect to see many new play scenarios evolve around the RFID sensor, which we believe will expand children and adult enthusiasts' ability to build and program robots that do what they want."
"We are very proud to launch the RFID sensor for the MINDSTORMS NXT platform," said Hermann Hainzlmaier of Codatex. "As an accessory to the NXT, we believe that the RFID sensor will open up for many new play experiences for both young and old users, and this is only the beginning, because we have many more ideas for products and accessories to come!"
About Codatex Hainzlmaier
Codatex Hainzlmaier GmbH & Co.KG has experience in RFID since its very beginning in the mid- 80s. With its small team of experts, Codatex has specialized on developing and marketing RFID OEM products for access control and time and attendance equipment.
NOTE: LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT information and product images can be downloaded from www.mindstorms.com/press.
See http://www.codatex.com/ and http://www.legomindstorms.com/ for more information on coming products and details."
UPDATE: Here's some pictures - I'll post a review a little later today. - Jim
FYI: With the Sensor you get two of the transponders seen in the bag in upper left corner of picture. The rest are extra options that I believe will be sold separately - "watch" transponders for wearing on wrist and bags of 10 clear transponders.
Tell me if I am wrong. Using this sensor, the robot could track you? Basically what I mean is, that in a large room, and you are wearing one of the "trackers" the bot will drive straight at you? And you could program the bot to navigate a house looking for you?!?
If so. Wow.
Sorry, posted a comment BEFORE reading the entire post. Okay, it's not as cool as I thought, but it is pretty interesting. So it's basically a electronic lock, and the trasponders are the keys, right?
*Hangs head in shame*
One example of a robot that uses this setup would be a robot that rolls along your bookshelf and scans each book's spine. If a transponder was glued inside each book, you could program your robot to search for a specific book (linked to a transponder using possibly a VARIABLE block and a COMPARE block: If Value Read by Sensor = XXXXXXX (TRUE) then SWITCH block assigns VARIABLE block to "Dictionary"). This is very simplistic, but the idea is that the sensor can read a 40-bit (5 byte) string of data that can be considered to be fairly unique (in terms of its value) and this transponder can then be used as a source of identification.
Likewise, it could also be used for navigational purposes - transponders mounted at various points on the floor or walls could help a robot "navigate" by making the proper left, right, rotate decisions.
Looking forward to the review and availability.
The major difference is you can sense the RFID tag from a distance and the RFID tag can hold more data. It is basically a chip with an antenna. Distances do vary depending on the type of RFID chip.
Pretty soon all products in the stores will have an RFID tag and not a barcode. This will help companies easily scan inventory.
When you take your cart through the check out lane you can scan the entire contents of your cart in one scan rather then individual scans like you currently do with barcodes.
That is still pretty cool and impressive. I thought it more of those old sci-fi movies where the door opens when they put their watchlike device to the dock. Wow, the use of that sensor seems pretty well spread out.
Codatex will be providing the hardware. The site includes video and FAQ's.
Anders's Mindstorms site