Rambling with RFID
RFID Helps Pedestrians Navigate Streets in Asia
RFID is known for helping packages and parcels get to their intended destinations. What’s less known is the technology’s ability to help people navigate. It can even offer guidance in places where GPS doesn’t work – such as inside buildings or in pedestrian tunnels.
In Japan, a non-profit research organization tested an information network for visitors to Tokyo’s busiest shopping district – Ginza. During the trial, visitors could use specially enabled cell phones or borrow devices to obtain detailed electronic information from posters that contained RFID tags or other forms of automatic identification. The posters were located throughout the shopping district and in pedestrian tunnels.
By reading the RFID tag, pedestrians could obtain directions to key tourist sites, find historical tidbits, get route information for wheelchair access or learn the location of the closest emergency exit to the pedestrian tunnel.
RFID for the Elderly
Elsewhere in Asia, RFID was tested for helping elderly people cross busy intersections. Singapore’s Land Transport Authority mounted RFID readers at an intersection and gave 30 residents in the area who were over 65 special RFID tags to use while walking. If a pedestrian needed more time to cross an intersection, he could wave his RFID tag at the reader. The traffic light would then reset to allow more time for crossing.
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