Anyone experienced with RFID?

(Ty) #1

Hi, my son and I are considering our first project and he is keen to recreate the Skylanders toys experience. With sky landers there are figurines and a base unit. Placing the toys on the base tells the game to bring the particular avatar into the game. After some Googl’ing I found that the toys use RFID to make the magic happen. I know software but I’m a real amateur when it comes to hardware.

Does anyone have experience with making RFID enabled things?

Ty N

(ian) #2

Hello Ty,

I don’t have any rfid experience myself, but I know there are RFID parts out there for arduino. Assuming skylanders don’t have any special formats or protocols making a reader using an arduino should be able doable. From there you can switch something on or/off, or report the values to a pc.
… Just the first two results that come up on aliexpress.

My suggestion would be to try and find a suitable tutorial on the internet and go from there.

(Ryan Mitchell) #3

I can’t tell you the nitty gritty, but I’ve worked with RDID in the past and can probably give you a few pointers.
RFID tags themselves, or NFC (a somewhat newer version of the protocol that can store more data) both have serials unique to each tag.
One way to work with these is to keep a list of the serial numbers in your game, and when, say, a USB RFID reader (we’ll get to that) reads a tag, it sends over the serial, the game looks up which character/model that serial is associated with, and displays it accordingly.
Another option (and I believe this is what Skylanders/Nintendo Amiibo uses) is to use an NFC tag and simply wrire the name of the character in the data.
The reader reads this data, and the game matches the string to its database (or you could have simple numerical IDs, 0x01 for one character, 0x02 for another, plain old decimal in ascii, whatever floats your boat.
As for the reader, you can get boards for RFID/NFC that hook up directly to an Arduino, or raspberry pi. In the Arduinos case, you can have it talk to your PC through serial over USB, or for a Pi, just run the game on the pi and read directly from the hardware.
Prebuilt readers just act as keybaord and type out the serial, so in game you’d either have to filter keybaord input selectively, use a controller only and tread all numerical input as serials, or whatever, but what’s probably easiest is to build one off an Arduino and read from it through serial.
You’ll need to tell me more about what you’re working on for me to help with anything more specific.

I’m currently working on a system for the space that uses NFC tags to keep track of space usage, what I’ve set up is a NFC reader board, connected to an Arduino, that will output the tags serial number over a USB serial connection for processing elsewhere. This may be what you want

(Stephen Davies) #4

Something else to note is that rfid can operate at different frequencies. You need to purchase fobs and a reader that operate one the same frequency.

(Ty) #5

Thanks for all the replies and good advice. I’m looking into what parts are available for Arduino and RaspberryPi to see what platform is the easiest to get something simple working.
I’m thinking to start with a Pi/Arduino, reader, NFC tag, multicolored LED. Step 1 = get the LED to light up different colors for a couple NFC tags. Step 2 = get characters to change in game based on what’s happening with the NFC tags.
I know a little about RaspberryPi but almost nothing about Arduino. Any suggestions on a good place to start with Arduino?

(Ben Paton) #6

I haven’t done these yet but the instrutable classes are usually good.