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Topic # 146644 24-May-2014 17:38
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Hi

I'm a teacher at a primary school. I really into tech and am learning all the time. 

I was wondering if these things were possible using NFC tags using my android devices and if not, what are the alternatives.

1) Can I put a students name on the NFC tag
2) Can I put a virtual currency on the tags and easily add and subtract from it (think what they did at Splore)
3) can I combine 1 and 2 if they are both possible
4) Is it possible to use it like a timer, every time they check in, it records their time. I'm thinking for things like a big team event race

Thanks for the advice and any good websites I should look at please let me know. I google the crap out of it, but I don't which sites are chaff.


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  Reply # 1052446 24-May-2014 18:50
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I've been messing about with NFC on Androids, there are plenty of data fields avaliable in NFC tags.

As far as writing point values etc sounds like a good idea, but I see one big draw back, if you can change it, a switched on kids can as well, suddenly they have a million points and so do all of their mates!

As far as logging events... you need quite close proximity with a phone to read a tag, and this can take a couple of seconds if there is a lot of data on the tag.

Good idea though, but you are better off have an ID or name assocated with the tag and manage the data somewhere else where other can't manapulate the data

try NFC tag info to read contents

NFC tagwriter to write info



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  Reply # 1052592 25-May-2014 03:42
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As a safety pre-caution I would never load critical transactions (such as credit balances) client-side.
You need to have  a robust system with a corresponding database (ie. student number vs. credit balance) server-side.




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  Reply # 1052652 25-May-2014 09:44
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Thanks for the replies so far guys. So it seems it can do all of the stuff I want so far if I am reading your replies correctly.

Yes, I won't be putting critical information it. It will be more like a fun thing I can do in class as a points system, instead of marbles. However in saying that, is there a way where only certain devices can add/remove from the NFC tags?

With the sports thing, I do realise it needs to be almost touching to work. I have contacted X-Race and asked them what they use and how they operate, does anyone here know?



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  Reply # 1052709 25-May-2014 10:52
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TeacherGeek: Hi

I'm a teacher at a primary school. I really into tech and am learning all the time. 

I was wondering if these things were possible using NFC tags using my android devices and if not, what are the alternatives.

1) Can I put a students name on the NFC tag
2) Can I put a virtual currency on the tags and easily add and subtract from it (think what they did at Splore)
3) can I combine 1 and 2 if they are both possible
4) Is it possible to use it like a timer, every time they check in, it records their time. I'm thinking for things like a big team event race

Thanks for the advice and any good websites I should look at please let me know. I google the crap out of it, but I don't which sites are chaff.



The fundamental underlying technology is called RFID (Radio Frequency ID) - its general form is a passive electrical circuit that when in an magnetic field, becomes active and will transmit a short piece of data a short distance.  The short piece of data is usually a barcode number or some form of ID that can be looked up in a database.  Using the database at the back end is where all of the business logic gets added.

NFC is basically an RFID reader which uses the technology to open up a Bluetooth connection to the other device, so its not really useful for transactions.

There are a few restrictions on using the technology (more to do with the PRA and Privacy acts) - for example, using it to track peoples movements in a school might be a bit of an issue, but using NFC to check out a library book would be ok.

For a race type event you can buy RFID wrist labels,  the runner would wear the label and get the barcode registered before the race, at the end when they cross the finishing line, they basically need to tap a reader with their tag.  You can also get a stronger passive tag that will go in a bigger field reader (like shop security - where you walk through it), not sure if these devices can be hired for sports events.  Finally, you can get active tags which are self powered - but these would be more pricy I suspect.

At the end of the day, for sports there are dedicates solutions - I think some use bracelets and UFD RFID tags.





Software Engineer

 




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  Reply # 1052851 25-May-2014 15:30
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TwoSeven:

NFC is basically an RFID reader which uses the technology to open up a Bluetooth connection to the other device, so its not really useful for transactions.

There are a few restrictions on using the technology (more to do with the PRA and Privacy acts) - for example, using it to track peoples movements in a school might be a bit of an issue, but using NFC to check out a library book would be ok.

At the end of the day, for sports there are dedicates solutions - I think some use bracelets and UFD RFID tags.



So what you are saying is, they should only be used as a reader. By transactions do you mean in like real $$$. I'm hoping for like an electronic system like they used at Splore, but the "transactions" won't ever be for real $$$. 

We wouldn't be using NFC to track any students, but now that you bring it up, it could be very good to do so with our special needs children. 

For these dedicated solutions for sports events, do you know where I can get more information about these from?

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  Reply # 1053002 25-May-2014 18:02
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I meant transaction as in data transaction - a unit of work :)

As I pointed out, there are very specific rules around using IT to track people - regardless of intent or potential application, it is worth while doing appropriate research around legislation first.

I just used google to look up rfid sports timing solutions.





Software Engineer

 




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  Reply # 1053146 25-May-2014 21:45
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I just looked at the timing solutions...that could be useful in the future.

Do you know how Splore used the NFCs to do transactions? Or other events that use NFC technology to do transactions.

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  Reply # 1053177 25-May-2014 22:52
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I don't know if this is how they did it but it is most likely they did.

They have a NFC device like this The device will broadcast a URL that the phone uses to open an application. A handshake then takes place so that there is a trust network in place. The phone then send the identification information to the NFC reader the computer attached to the NFC reader then checks a central server to check the users allowance and do the transaction.

The other way it could have been done is for the tag to just launch an application on the phone with a small amount of information to give the phone some context then the phone does the talking with the central server.

NFC tags at the start are set to be writeable by anybody they can be locked but after this they cannot be unlocked. Therefore there is no reason that a student with a application on there phone cannot just read what is on the tag at current and then modify the tag at there leisure.

The only way to set it so that no one can hack the NFC tags is to set up the tags to launch something on the phone then lock the tags. If you fail to do this there is nothing stoping someone from writing the tag to open a undesirable website or ring someone send a text etc all it takes is an application called NFC TagWriter by NXP. A reader writer like above will instead work like a short range network.




Geoff E

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