back to article Violet Mir:ror DIY RFID kit

Whether you notice it or not, radio-frequency identification (RFID) is upon us in our daily lives. For Londoners, the most obvious incarnation is the Oyster card. Sit it on a pad when you start and finish a tube journey and the fare is deducted from your account automatically. The people at Violet want to make RFID a rather …


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  1. DJ
    Thumb Down

    I looked at this at christmas.

    And I was tempted to buy one, now I'm sure that it's pointless.. thanks.

  2. The BigYin


    Seems like a reasonable idea looking for a problem really. I am sure that once people start to fiddle with it they will find real applications, not that I would want to have object on me tagged with RFID (how long before this is used for tracking/hacking?)

    Strikes me that it would be faster and easier to just have some desktop shortcuts, automation will get annoying when it is triggers and all you have done is move the object from A to B and accidentally gone too close to the receiver.

    At least they support Linux (although if it is as shocking as the Mac version, perhaps "support" is not the correct word).

  3. Daniel Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Great review

    Well done Bob - one of the best reviews I've read on El Reg for a while now.

    Keep it up.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Could be useful for children using Makaton

    It would be quite interesting to embed these stamps in the makaton symbols used by autistic children and have the compter start an appropriate activity for them. With a bespoke application, the level of interaction required in the task could be increased steadily to require the child to interact more and more each time. Thumbs up from me.

  5. Andy Landy


    is it april 1st already? who on earth would buy this?!

  6. Eddie Edwards

    Nice joke but ...

    Liked the last joke but what a missed opportunity to thoroughly take the piss! Was this a paid review or something?

    Wave a brolly over a pad to find the weather? Why the fuck would I want to go and find my umbrella before checking the weather? Why not just minimize everything and look at my Vista weather widget? Or even - hell - look out the window!

    As for taking my Oyster card out of my jacket so I can avoid clicking on a "favourites" link for TFL's website ... yeah, nice feature. I always wanted new ways of forgetting to take it with me when I go out.

    The bunnies are great though. Everyone naturally maps tasks to different coloured bunnies in their head, so remembering which was which should be no problem, and much more efficient than the "favourites" menu with it's non-intuitive textual labelling.

    But how much do these 25p RFID tags in cloth pouches cost? No mention of price?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    i dont think ive ever

    seen anything so pointless.

    1) go get umbrella

    2) tap umbrella on pad to find out it's sunny

    3) put umbrella away


    1) look outside

    2) go outside

    3) jump in front of bus

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Rember the Nabaztag /tag?

    If anyone remembers Violets last product, the Nabaztag and follow-up Nabaztag/tag they were supposed to offer similar functionality but in a standalone wifi connected device.

    Anyone who bought one (Myself included) were promised the world of possibilities but were let down again and again by Violet with promises not fulfilled. Also all communication relied on Violets web servers which were more than flaky and severely limited innovation on what was an incredibly exciting system.

    I guess they may have improved but beware that if they say functionality is coming it is probably worth waiting till it is there before you put down the cash. Nice idea, disappointing service.

  9. Gerard Krupa
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    Or as an alternative solution... could just use browser bookmarks, keyboard shortcuts and desktop icons.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A title is required


  11. Roger Lee


    If anyone really does want to do this, check out as well. Their starter kit gives you 25 tags and a USB reader for under £30.

    I am not associated with Tikitag in any way at all, and am posting this because of my constant surprise that RFID is touted as a cheap technology, but always ends up costing a packet.

  12. Neil Woolford
    Thumb Up

    Good thing I wasn't drinking my coffee...

    "when she next uses her rabbit, she has the pleasure of aural text"

    And only Wednesday.


  13. Paul Kinsler

    you says it's linux-able...

    ... but their webpage makes no mention of linux support that I can see.

  14. Ben Mathews


    But I kinda want one.

    What I'd use it for I have no idea!

  15. Random Noise
    Thumb Down


    What is the point of this thing?

    I understand how it works etc, but what would anyone actually use this for on a daily basis? Seems like a pointless waste of resources to me. Too many designers / engineers waste their abilities making tat like this when they could be spending their time on something to make the world a better place.

  16. Colin Millar
    Thumb Up

    More of this please

    This detailed review is great. Reg hardware reviews had been getting a bit thin on such detail lately. Please keep it up - THG is just such a PITA web site.

    Shame the product is so crap. The fact that it is pointless isn't in itself a bad thing but the state of the software (manually entering file paths? In a consumer product?) makes it look like the manufacturer has given up on the product and is just trying to shift a few units to the gullible to get some cash back.

  17. Nano nano

    Judging by their spelling ...

    doesn't give you much confidence in the prod:uctZ ...

  18. Greg Trocchia

    The killer app is missing

    I believe that RFID tagging household items won't be compelling until you can install a network of readers which can interrogate the tag at a distance of several meters and triangulate to tell you *where* the tag is right now. That is the "killer app" for home RFID: never lose your keys again, always be able to find the remote control effortlessly, etc. Until you get that, home RFID will, IMHO, remain a solution in search of a problem.

  19. An nonymous Cowerd

    @killer app

    that killer app is UWB (ultrawideband) based RFID systems where you build up a radar style presence cloud of tagged items. The typical ISO-14443A 13.56MHz stuff (eg shiny rabbits & ePassports) is only centimetres talk distance. pulsed UWB at 6GHz has been demonstrated over a kilometer with incredibly low almost undetectable power levels. see, tags are a few dollars each, development system around 14k.

    now where did I leave my coat?

  20. Ben Daniels
    Paris Hilton

    Yup, what exactly is the point with these?

    after reading up on the tikitag after seeing it i think on firebox, i took a look, and it has a similar idea, wave the tag over the receiver and it activates a certain task using the tikitag server (so it's still reliant on a webserver being up and running.

    other that the idea that tikitag suggests i believe, and that's sticking the tags to a business card, and hoping to hell that the receipient has an RFID reader, i don't see the difference between sticking a tag to an object, and say, clicking on a shortcut which achieves the same task.

    i think these companies are thinking along the tikitag lines, and thinking about exchangable objects/tags in the long term, but in the short term don't know how to get the readers out there. anyone know if the MIR:ROR reader is compatible with the Tikitag system? if it isn't, then it's all going for a ball of chalk really isn't it.....

  21. bluesxman

    RE: Good thing I wasn't drinking my coffee...

    Glad to see I'm not the only one with a mind sufficiently dirty so as to appreciate that.

  22. W

    The first thing I thought of

    when I saw this was that it might be good to be able to put my keys (with tagged keyring) into a bowl (containing tag reader) when returning home from work and for that action to trigger a set of actions within the house (keys in bowl = lights and stereo on, etc). But that would require a chunk of home infrastructure that isn't there. And isn't going to be there any time soon.

    I can't see this taking off as a substitute for desktop shortcuts or browser bookmarks at all. *Maybe* for young kids being able to automatically trigger the playing of a cartoon or something, but I'd say that's about the limit of it's possibilities on the desktop, tied to a PC.

    So yeah, I can see RFID tags being incorporated into, say, WiFi enabled toys, with a wave of toy part A near toy part B resulting in outcome X, Y or Z.

    And, such is the way of the world, there are no doubt plans afoot to tie it in with advertising. Eg: wave your personal tag infront of a screen while out and about (bus stops?) to receive info of some sort (news / sport / celeb stuff) that will be 'supported' by way of product placement/advertising.

    But as a cumbersome phsical replacement for desktop shortcuts and browser bookmarks? No chance.

  23. Robin Mosse

    cat flap

    now if it could read an embedded pet RFID tag rather that its own propprietary ones and then acivate the solenoid that unlocks the flap.............

    CatMates solution is lame.

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