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RFID Keyboard (Musical) Answered

Hi there,

I'm currently doing a University course in Digital Art and was wondering how possible it would be to produce an RFID keyboard (of the musical kind). In the lectures we've been studying about tags and readers which is all new to me, but I've been looking at a few different examples which use sound as their basis and was wondering if I could get something like a keyboard working.

I've done a quick Google search and nothing has come up with regards to tutorials or anything related to producing something like this so I guess I'm the first to try it?

I also looked on Ebay at parts and for an RFID reader and some tags it comes to around £10-15 which isn't too bad. For the keyboard part I was thinking of creating my own keys so that the instrument could be played with hands or feet as opposed to fingers (making it easier to play?).

What do you guys think? Is it possible?



P.S. Apologies for the lack of diagrams/pictures but this is just a quick thought and wanting to run it by someone before getting serious about it :).



8 years ago

well, since RFID basically only stores a number (like a UPC or what not) you can pretty much do whatever you want here.

attach the tags to every day objects and then pass the tag ID through software to play sounds of what that object normally makes (say you tag a toy car, when you read the RFID tag it would play the sound of a car) etc... you could do it as complicated or as easy as you wanted i guess.

you could even make a "musical training" tool that would play a note when someone passes an image of that note (from like sheet music i guess) over the reader. so if they pass the C# card over the reader it would play a C#. then you could build some kind of rudimentary player piano where you link the cards together like a film strip, then some gears would pass the strip across the reader and it would play the song you "wrote" by connecting the cards into a strip.


8 years ago

Wow, cool! :). Some nice ideas there.

Do you know of any tutorials which feature something similar?

At the moment my main goal is to figure out how to make a tag and a reader talk to each other and then send signals to play a sound. I'm pretty sure after that point I could figure everything else out.

Also, do you know the type of RFID tags/reader I would need? At the moment I've looked on Ebay and there are a wide assortment of tag types and I don't want to jump in and find out later they're wrong :(.

Thanks very much for the advice so far, really helpful! :).




Reply 8 years ago

i don't particularly know of any tutorials (i could google, but you'd probably come up with the same results)

the tags and the reader will talk to each other no matter what, that's what they're designed to do. an RFID tag is the same thing as a barcode. it just stores information (typically just a number), the action that occurs after a tag is scanned is controlled by the software that's interfacing with the reader. if the software is designed to grant access to a locked door, then when someone scans a tag, the software reads that number and compares it to it's access list, if the number is on the list, the door opens. if it's not, it doesn't. it's really that simple.

so for your application you would have to design some software that can interface with the reader as it's input source, then assign each RFID tag to a specific sound. then when the software gets the number as input it will play that numbers sound.

you could do this as a simple Visual Basic application (may have to googles on how to read data in from whatever port your tag reader connects to).

as far as the tags and the readers type....i'd imagine whatever you find should work the same no matter what. for something like this, cheaper would probably be the way to go.

in my experience, when working with VB it's easier to read from a serial port as opposed to USB, but, that may be simply because i suck at programming.