June 07, 2009, 7:03 PM — A homeowner had a vexing problem. While the family cat was able to go in and out through a pet door, so was a mischievous neighborhood raccoon, which snuck in and ate the cat’s food.
RFID came to the rescue.
An RFID reader on the door picked up the signal from the RFID tag on the cat’s collar, opening the door for the cat but not the raccoon.
This is one of the scores of applications users have created for Touchatag, the maker of an open RFID application development kit. Touchatag, a startup funded by Alcatel-Lucent Ventures, showed off its technology at JavaOne 2009, held June 2-5 in San Francisco.
"Java developers are a creative bunch and so we’re trying to get them onto the API," said Ted Haeger, developer relations manager for Touchatag.
Touchatag is the next phase in the continuing evolution of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology. RFID has been used in a variety of applications such as warehouse inventory control. Motorists who have an EZ-Pass device on their car’s windshield for electronic toll payment are using RFID technology.
But Touchatag is enabling easier development of RFID apps by releasing an application programming interface (API) May 19 to expand the number of ways the technology can be put to use. Touchatag people were handing out RFID starter kits at JavaOne with a reader that connects to a computer via USB cable and 10 RFID tags. The app is created on the computer and the program is downloaded to the tag by touching the tag to the reader.