RFID Reading Field Visualizing Probe Design

Introduction

Last week while I was watching some videos on Vimeo looking for inspiring material, I hit the jackpot: “Immaterials: the ghost in the field”. I was so intrigued by their work; I didn’t even pay attention to the publishing date (2 years ago). While watching the video ideas started rushing through my head, since for a while I’ve been working with RFID and always faced problems with the reading field of the antennas. Of course going to the datasheets and trying to figure out the reading volume’s shape could be one possibility, but it’s just not “real” enough. I wanted to know more about the people behind this project and reached nearfield.org. The research was complete, the papers were published, the website was last updated in 2011 but people were still posting comments.

I started wondering what happened to this amazing technique, and why no one has pursued this study. In the meantime, while I could not argue the beauty of the outcome of this technique I couldn’t resist not thinking of how inefficient, time consuming and limited it was. So I decided to design my own tool that could take this research a step further.

RFID Reading Volume 3D Mapping Probe:

The concept is simple; it is visualized in the diagram below:

RFID Reading Field Visualizing Probe High level architecture
RFID Reading Field Visualizing Probe High level architecture

 

 

The diagram is at a very high level of abstraction and it’s not worth going into its details at the moment as some components might vary upon implementation. However, I’m gonna describe what is illustrated above:

  1. The Probe is made out of 5 modules:
    1. RFID Tag
    2. Coordinates Recording module
    3. Accelerometer
    4. LED
    5. Controller
  1. Once the Probe, specifically the Tag (1a) is at a reading distance from the RFID antenna, the reader dispatches a signal to the processing software layer that will in turn trigger the recording algorithm.
  2. The recording algorithm will ask the Controller to grab data from the 2 modules (1b and 1c) and will ask the LED (1d) to blink.
  3. The data is then gather, analyzed, stored and the coordinates with the accelerometer data will be used to draw 3D point cloud of the reading volume.
It is worth to note, that this Probe can be adapted to different technologies. Actually, any technology that offers instance response.

To be more specific, I drew a simple annotated sketch of how the probe might look like:

RFID Reading Field Visualizing Probe Sketch
RFID Reading Field Visualizing Probe Sketch

This design is currently pending a prototype. I’m gonna be working on it as of next week. I’ll update this post accordingly.

I will choose one of these 2 paths:

  1. Develop a mobile application and embed the missing modules to a smart phone and have the application do all the logic.
  2. Implement the probe using an open source controller (Arduino and the likes). I’m sure I will not need much processing power on the Probe level since all the work will be done by the controlling pc.

Potential Value:

Since this is a side project, I will neglect all business value of this project and focus on the personal educational benefit; maybe some student, researcher might find value in this work as well. I have not yet done my homework with regard to looking for off the shelf solutions; I am going to work on it either way, even if some argue that I’ll be re-inventing the wheel.

 

 

The ‘I Don’t Give A Shit Attitude’

I Don't Give a Shit
Do I Look Like I Care?

The ‘I Don’t Give A Shit Attitude’

Wait… What? What is this about?!

In a world governed by hypercritical and highly judgmental critics having all the right to voice their opinion, trying to protect oneself from offensive non constructive criticism has become a tedious task. In a world full of multi-talented individuals, the race for the top is vicious. Whether in the office space, in the real world, amongst friends, in the business field the intense competitive edge is all around. It has become a vital aspect of our daily life. This symbol of democracy, fairness and righteousness has had a multitude of destructive consequences on numerous individuals, who for a reason or another were not up to this ferocious game. This constant fear of criticism, peer pressure and constant reflection on consequences has forced many to hide behind a shell and oppress their ideas knowing that some of them are quite bright.

Long story short, if you are one those people I described in the paragraph above. This is the time to embrace the “I Don’t Give A Shit” attitude. It is time for you to let go of the consequences, let go of the plans, let go of the continuous reflections on the “What If” question and to engage in the realization of your ideas. Whether you are an entrepreneur, an employee or a regular person with a dream; try to put yourself in a position where the answer to the question: “What do I have to lose?” is “Nothing”.

When you have that power: “Freedom”, you will be able to uplift yourself to a whole new game level. Yes, what you read is correct, a game. And mastering the attitude above is a solid way to beat it.

What do you mean? I don’t quite understand yet!

It is true, this is quite a complicated topic to discuss in one blogpost as there are numerous sub-topics (ideas) to convey that are as important. These sub-topics are branches of cases that split off the root idea, such as: exceptional cases, circumstances preventing one from reaching the level of freedom needed to acquire the “I Don’t Give A Shit” attitude, ease of behavioral change etc… However, the starting point is fairly simple. If you believe in a conceptidea that can be either big or small, but that will have an positive impact on your life andor the life of others, disregard the negative feedback from others for a brief period of time – which ends when your idea reaches the state of realization – and then, just then throw whatever you have built to the world and gather whatever type of feedback is thrown back at you. It is then, only then that the opinions you have neglected before mater. Only then, will the random voices contribute to the prosperity of your project. At that point you will have a solid entity that can morph into whatever shape it is needed to be.

But great ideas require dedication, hard work how does the above apply?!

Do I Look like I care?
Do I Look like I care?

The above applies to only a brief period of time. This period extends from the minute you have the “Eureka” moment up until the minute where your first prototype is completed (or any other form of proof of concept). During this period, you will not induce any changes to your current life and formal behavior. The process should go in parallel to whatever you were previously doing for multiple reasons:

  1. You should not start living in the dream world; where you induce changes to your life that might or might not happen as the consequence of the success of your idea.
  2. You should always protect yourself from disappointment. Strive to the success of your idea, but don’t get your hopes up too high for if you fail, the psychological impact will be devastating.
  3. Ego! Ego is very important as long as it is under control. Do not let your ego sky rocket. Not giving a shit does not mean disrespect to others opinion. It only means putting these opinions aside up to the point where they will have a value.

Conclusion

The discussion is far from complete. I will make sure to increase the contributions to this topic as much as time allows. The points discussed above are my personal observations derived from my personal life. I would be more than happy to discuss these opinions thoroughly with anyone who is willing to have an open objective discussion. I understand that this post is a bit vague and open to multiple interpretations; however with time I believe I will be able to convey my observations on the factors of success. Knowing that these factors might just be an illusion, I strongly believe there are lessons to be learned from them (more or less).