Checkin Station

The RFID Checkin System aims to make the act of checking in a more streamlined and social process. It uses RFIDs to checkin to location services such as FourSquare, Google Latitude, and Gowalla. Interacting with these services by checking in on your phone forces you to break away from your immediate social environment to engage with the virtual world. This new system not only makes this process more transparent to your friends, but also streamlines the process since you no longer have to search for the venue or remember to checkin when you arrive at the location because the Checkin Station would be in a very apparent location at the venue. Also, it gives the opportunity to those without smartphones to participate as well.

The system is comprised of two types of modules, each of which would be associated with a specific venue. The first is the Checkin Station where a user is able to link their RFID tag with their location service by logging into their account via a touch screen tablet display. A database keeps track of the account key in order to track the user’s habits. This station also allows a users to checkin to the venue . This unit is comprised of an Android tablet and custom RFID reader hardware using an Arduino and Bluetooth transceiver to communicate with the tablet.

The second component is a smaller, lower cost unit that simply checks in a user to the associated venue when they tap their ID. LEDs give feedback allowing the user to know if the checkin succeeded. The only requirements are for the venue to have a source of power and Internet connection (wired or wireless) to connect up to the unit.

The checkin system has benefits that extend beyond the user. Companies can opt to brand the RFID cards or even embedded an RFID into there own custom form such as a keychain or bottle opener. The ability to easily login online and dissociate your location service account from the RFID makes the system safe and secure in case the ID is lost or stolen. Creating another layer on the locations service’s API also allows brands to track and assess consumer trends.

The checkin system will make it’s debut at the Maker Faire portion of this years Android Open Conference.

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