Monday, June 24, 2013

Does anyone have any cool ideas for NFC tags?

NFC tags are pretty cool.  I’ve been playing around with them lately, although I haven’t had much time.  Here are a few of the things I’ve done and the frustrations I’ve had.  Anyone else have any cool ideas?

1. A tag by the front door that visitors can bump to connect to my wifi

2. A tag on a bracelet that brings up my wunderlist todo list.  I find the physicality of this useful – the bracelet helps me to remember to look at the list, otherwise I tend to forget. Wunderlist is good for this because it’s cloud-based, so I can update the list from any browser (and so can my wife, as I’ve shared the list with her) and the up to date list will appear on my phone when I bump the bracelet

3. A bracelet that reminds me to take my pills. When my leg is bad, I need to take pills every four hours, but when it isn’t bad, I don’t. So I have another bracelet that sets an alarm for four hours time.  When my leg is bad, I take some pills and bump. If it’s still bad 4 hours later, I bump again…. then stop when it gets better.

4. A tag that texts my wife to tell her I’ve arrived to meet her or pick her up.

5. A tag by the bed to turn notifications off

6. A tag that starts the audible client and displays the library screen.  This is actually quite annoying, since audible doesn’t have an activity to start the current book playing, which is what I wanted.  When I get into the car, my phone automatically connects to the car’s bluetooth and I wanted to just bump to start playing my current book instead of having to scrabble about with my phone, which is usually in my bag… I’ve put in a feature request to audible, but I’m not holding my breath.

7. Tags that run various scripts I’ve written on a webserver.  So far, I’ve just done a few test scripts because I haven’t had time to do anything else, but my ultimate aim is to combine NFC tags with my privacy research. For example, I want to be able to bump a tag I’m wearing when, say, I walk into a pub or get home which changes the privacy settings on all my social media to reflect my environment. Maybe, for example, I want people (or maybe only certain people) to know I’m in the pub so they can come and join me.  Or maybe I don’t because I’m supposed to be at work.  I like the idea of the physicality of the tags controlling the bubble of information around me and exactly how it leaks.  My first idea was to use Twitter’s API to toggle my feed between protected and open, but the API doesn’t allow that, thwarted again!  Actually, I only really wanted to do this as a demo, but it was still annoying.  But controlling your global privacy settings with wearable NFC tags would be pretty cool.

Anyway, what do you do with your NFC tags?

Update: I’ve been meaning to play about with Tasker to see if I can add some kind of location or time awareness, but again, I haven’t had time.  I’m fairly sure I’m going to end up having to write some Android apps to do the sorts of thing I want, but there are worse fates, I guess.

(Image courtesy of

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