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Hardware Hacking Data Storage Media Music

RFID Music Player 157

Posted by timothy
from the reuse dept.
frazzydee writes "I know what you're thinking, RFID tags used to play music? Well, it turns out that we don't need to take out our tinfoil hats this time, because it turns out that are some constructive uses for the same RFID tags that we have all come to loathe. Since RFID tags can hold 1 kilobyte of data, somebody who goes by dividuum found that (s)he could use the tags combined with a reader to store and play back music. Dividuum used SID files- the same format used on Commodore 64s- and programmed everything in C. Pictures of the RFID device are available here."
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RFID Music Player

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  • Speak for yourself (Score:5, Insightful)

    by That's Unpossible! (722232) * on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @08:15PM (#12018471)
    the same RFID tags that we have all come to loathe

    I don't subscribe to slashdot groupthink.

    I don't loathe any technology, only those that abuse it.
  • by stratjakt (596332) on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @08:16PM (#12018483) Journal
    Only some of the potential uses.

    I used an RFID card to get in and out of a city admin building all last week on site, it was much better than having to fumble for a different key for the umpteen different doors.

    Technophobic dorks. Invasion of privacy, and all the other paranoias you have are all social problems, not technical ones.

    Don't bitch about the tech, bitch about the people who would misuse it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @08:17PM (#12018490)
    Outside of the slashdot tin-foil hat crowd, I don't think anybody is getting really worked up over glorified barcodes.

    It's just a technology like just about everything else. It doesn't automatically make it evil just because some bad guys might use it or there is "potential" for abuse.

    Seriously, the RFID is evil meme is dead. Learn to deal with it.
    • I think very few people know what RFID is, so it isn't meaningful to judge if most people are "getting worked up" over RFID.

      Your examination leaves much to be desired, besides. RFID gives us opportunities to do things (including tracking at a short distance and publishing uniquely coded RFID tags) which we couldn't do with barcodes, so RFID is not fairly described as "glorified barcodes". Calling it "just a technology" and "evil" reads like an attempt to marginalize anyone's ethical critique of RFID rath
  • 1 kb (Score:4, Funny)

    by Umbral Blot (737704) on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @08:20PM (#12018513) Homepage
    1 Kb doesn't seem like a lot of music. 1 Mb/min is the usal rate for at least decent encodings. That means that 1Kb would play ... 1/1024 min or approx .05 seconds. Ouch
    • Re:1 kb (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rbarreira (836272)
      Do you really think the Commodores had a wav or mp3 format, or the capability to play it?
    • Re:1 kb (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Think of it like a midi file not a raw or compressed mp3/ogg..
      So its all those beeps, we love :)
      • So its all those beeps, we love

        You were supposed to say "So it's those beeps we ALL love.

        And no, it is not music, it is noise - even if it was a great invention someday.
    • Re:1 kb (Score:3, Informative)

      by Stevyn (691306)
      Think Fourier transforms. Many techniques can be used to encode music such that the quality is reasonable and the file size small.
    • In audio WAV format, sure. But there are other ways to code audio that take a lot less space, if pure audio and fidelity are not requirements. MIDI for example, or in the case of the article, SID. You don't record the sound, you record information about the sound that you run back through a synthesizer.
    • Re:1 kb (Score:2, Funny)

      by squiggleslash (241428)
      You'll be amazed by the compression rates achieved by some Indian math guy...

      (I sense a potential new meme)

    • Re:1 kb (Score:4, Funny)

      by NoGuffCheck (746638) on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @08:27PM (#12018566)
      Your not taking into account the time-space-continueum (stupid). Try listening to Celine Dion, its so bad that 0.05 seconds would sound like a waste of hours.
      • my prefered tool for compressing celine dion tracks is rm.
        • Your challenge, if you choose to accept it is to construct a regular expression to identify all celine dion tracks and incorportate it into a shell script the effect of which would cleanse a machine of all celine dion garbage.

    • Use your head. Since each tag holds a whole 1Kb, you only need 1024 tags for each minute of music. That's a mere 716800 tags for a full cd. Since you'd be buying in bulk, you can replace those flimsy, akward cds for just $7168.00 apiece! I don't know about you, but I'm going right now!
    • Re:1 kb (Score:3, Interesting)

      by back_pages (600753)
      1 Kb doesn't seem like a lot of music. 1 Mb/min is the usal rate for at least decent encodings. That means that 1Kb would play ... 1/1024 min or approx .05 seconds. Ouch

      Greetings!

      This is what a Commodore-64 is!
      Commodore 64 [oldcomputers.net]

      Judging from your high UID and your apparent inexperience with the computers of 1982, I feel fully justified in blazenly assuming that 1 Kb of YOUR music is MORE than enough. 0.058 seconds of "Dad won't buy me a car, homework sucks" is exactly the right amount.

      (Take it easy - I'

      • Take it easy - I'm from 1980 myself and employing ironic humor

        Whoa, you're from 1980? I heard it's nice there; lots of coke and sex, like a constant party. But I just haven't had the time myself to visit. Welcome to 2005!
        • Yeah thanks for the welcome. The end of the sexual revolution sucks but at least disco is over... eh, wait, I just saw what's on MTV. Crap, send me back.
    • I wonder what it would sound like if you just dumped a load of tags on a reader... Random 1K shorts?
  • A name! (Score:5, Funny)

    by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @08:22PM (#12018521) Homepage Journal

    At least they credit someone named "Dividuum" rather than calling him "RFID software guy".
    • Yeah, but they didn't credit hackaday [hackaday.com] which is where they got it from
    • At least they credit someone named "Dividuum" rather than calling him "RFID software guy".

      That's because they didn't read the article first to find out what his gender is:

      Since RFID tags can hold 1 kilobyte of data, somebody who goes by dividuum found that (s)he could use the tags

      He's a guy:

      Dividuum, my flat-mate, has built a very cool RFID application. He stores SID-files (SID is the music format for the C64) on RFID tags.

  • Since RFID tags can hold 1 kilobyte of data, somebody who goes by dividuum found that (s)he could use the tags combined with a reader to store and play back music. Great! If I had like three thousand I can actually play a entire track, give the RIAA a convenient way to track me, and I'll probably get some sort of prostate cancer! Awesome!
  • AFDB (Score:5, Funny)

    by Embedded Geek (532893) on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @08:27PM (#12018560) Homepage
    we don't need to take out our tinfoil hats this time

    Ha! You won't fool me! You're just trying to get me to take off my Aluminum Foil Deflector Beanie [zapatopi.net]! Well, it won't work! I've had voices in my head a lot louder than you try! So if you think that you'll---

    What? OK, Mom. I'll go take my meds now.

    • Re:AFDB (Score:3, Funny)

      by flyingsquid (813711)
      Ha! You won't fool me! You're just trying to get me to take off my Aluminum Foil Deflector Beanie! Well, it won't work!

      RFIDs can be made paper-thin and less than a centimeter square, so now they (you know who!) have put them inside every square foot of aluminum foil.

      For a good tinfoil hat, you need to get aluminum foil which is at least twenty years old. I suggest going to the dump and digging down a few feet- dig until you get to the really ripe stuff, then it's just about five more feet! The dates of

      • going to the dump and digging down a few feet

        Wonderful idea! After I get home tonight I'll just grab a shovel and a chair and start digging into the ceiling.

        I only hope my bunker's ceiling won't cave in.

  • by i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @08:29PM (#12018578) Homepage Journal
    You know folks tin foil and aluminum foil are VERY different things.

    I amazed that a site so full of educated geeks has never pointed this out.
    • "amazed that a site so full of educated geeks has never pointed this out."

      I'm happy they haven't. I'm so fricken tired of time and mod points being wasted on needless corrections. Correcting somebody for the difference between Megabytes and Gigabytes is one thing, correcting them over MB or mb is just plain irritating.
      • correcting them over MB or mb is just plain irritating.

        So you don't see any difference between a megabyte and a millibit?

        Okay, yeah, you can't really divide bits into anything. In fact, milli- has no application as far as data storage goes. So mega-, at least, can be safely assumed.

        But megabits are sometimes used, so making a distinction between Mb and MB is neccessary.
        • "But megabits are sometimes used, so making a distinction between Mb and MB is neccessary."

          In casual conversation? I don't think so. Would you really correct somebody talking about a 640mb CD-ROM? Would YOU really like to be corrected for not being unnecessarily specific?

          Do you (syrix Slashdot user 10649) really think (i.e. do you have neurons in your brain firing in a specific pattern that results in the idea that people need to be extremely specific when they type a comment on Slashdot.org located a
    • So, in your opinion, which is best, or are tin and aliminium both optimal for certain specific metal foil hat applications? How well would copper foil work?
    • I did once, a long time ago, but the comment is out of my non-subscriber history now. Perhaps a subscriber can look back through my comments and find it... The parent said something about aluminum foil not working, and I commented that he should have tried tin foil. :)
  • Apple comes out with 40 gb iPod.........

    Okay, someone used an RFID reader/writer to put 1k of music on, it, big whoop. Next week I'm planning on putting some MP3s on my usb flash drive, isn't that great... :P
    • whats wrong with doing it just because?
      • I'm just not sure how purchasing an rfid reader and deciding to put some data on it is newsworthy. It's not useful, or even novel, really.

        It might be okay if it was like "10 Cool Things to do with your rfid reader", or "how to build rfid from scratch". But no, it's "I put 1k of data on an rfid card and read it back onto my system, aren't I great"....
  • by UlfGabe (846629)
    if the music is going to be low quality jingles i believe we can all deal with this....

    carry EMP devices into stores which use RFID and let loose
  • Avant Garde (Score:5, Funny)

    by Embedded Geek (532893) on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @08:38PM (#12018648) Homepage
    I just have to wonder what kind of weird/random noise the thing would make if you took it into a store that has embraced RFID:

    And now WWRD's Avante Garde corner features Herr Gerder VonStiffle's latest composition, "Fast Walk Through Walmart's Sporting Goods Section, #7"

    • I just have to wonder what kind of weird/random noise the thing would make if you took it into a store that has embraced RFID:
      You'd hear the following:

      "Store security. Please follow me. We suspect that are you attempting to circumvent our shop lifting counter measures by hacking our RFID tags with that gadget of yours."

  • Commdore 64 music (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Neo-Rio-101 (700494) on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @08:46PM (#12018706)
    If I'm not wrong, the average .sid file for the C64 takes up about 2K of memory. The sids must have been pretty small to fit on the RFID.

    Some interesting Commodore 64 music links:-
    The HVSID Collection [c64.org] - Which is the main site for the collection of thousands upon thousands of Commodore 64 sid files.
    Remix.kwed.org [kwed.org] Remixes of Commodore 64 tunes with real and modern synthesized instruments.

    (Don't hammer their servers!)

    I'm off to play "Lazy Jones" (aka ZombieNation)

  • Finally... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Arjuna Theban (143564) on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @08:49PM (#12018720)
    I get my own theme music!
  • Q: Why?

    A: Because.

    Q: But that's not enough of a reason.

    A: Yes, it is.

    Q: But it's so useless.

    A: Shut the fuck up and go play Pokemon, would you?
  • When they released The Phantom Mennance movies flood of toys. Dident they release some action figures with RDF stuff? Put them on a base. They speak dialog.

    Not sure if it was inside of the little plastic base or they loaded the player and tages it by what was places on it.
  • I would like a system where you have a reader plugged into a stero system and an ethernet cable (or wifi). Then you would go and buy or somehow get a tag, you scan the tag, and it downloads and plays the music. Some tags will have playlists too. Some of the tags from the Big 5 would be linked to the first reader they are scanned, other tags could be traded, but you would still need the physical tag to play the song.
  • ... are the tiny chunks of Ruby code that read and write RFID tags using a standard chunk of hardware and libusb.
  • by interstellar_donkey (200782) <pathighgate&hotmail,com> on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @10:10PM (#12019512) Homepage Journal
    I know this is slightly off topic, but it occurred to me that RFID tags could actually be useful in terms of music.

    The value of music (or video, or software, or any other intellectual property) isn't so much in the media it's stored on, but in owning the license to legally play it. As it stands, when somebody purchases music, be it on a CD or in mp3 format, maintaining the license to the work can be a pain.

    CDs can break or be scratched to the point of being unplayable. Hard drives can be erased accidentally. Owners of the copy write do their best to prevent users to copy media because despite many users otherwise benign intent to transfer media to a different format or to archive owned media, there is no guarantee that they aren't copying the work for a more nefarious purpose.

    Enter RFIDs. They're cheap, there portable and they can be owned. A person simply purchases the RFID for a work, and then that RFID is scanned any player in any format before the work can be played.

    Taking your mp3 player filled with music you own on vacation? Simply wave it over your box of RFID tags, and viola! The player knows you are legally entitled to play the songs you copied onto it.

    You could make as many perfect digital copies as you like of your CDs or even DVDs and it wouldn't matter. As long as the player is able to check the RFID tag for ownership, the media will play.

    Granted there are some problems. As they are small, RFID tags would be easy to lose, and all sorts of issues come up when you consider online purchase of media where physical objects like RFIDs can't be used. But it's an idea, nonetheless.

    • god, i wish the gods had recently granted me mod powers - if they had, i'd immediately mod this funny. maybe i've drunk too much belgian beer (i'm in virginia, usa, but i know a good thing when i taste one) - but i really think the author meant to be funny. perhaps not. at any rate, this entire article is exactly what i expect from and love about slashdot - it's completely useless, yet sadly interesting. yay mp3s. eat my stool. use two spaces after sentences. i'm drunk.
      • It wasn't meant to be funny, but it was partially inspired by Irish beer. I suppose if you really thought about it, it's an absurd idea. But contemplating unusually complex solutions using technology to solve pointless problems, solutions that if anything would probably be more of a hindrance then a help is a hallmark of the Slashdot community.

        Now, if I had suggested that RFIDs should be incorporated into Lego bricks with a blue tooth interface for license rights, and that the end user could build a Star
    • I'm waiting for someone to come up with a write once chip for storing music on. Something like a cheap flash card memory card constructed of silicon fuses. Generic at the time of manufacture before writing to keep the cost/chip down. Think about it. No moving parts, tiny power consumption, small size, could be built to have huge reliablity. Hmmm huge reliabilty naa they'll never make it.
    • You are still missing the point: DRM is a fundamentally broken concept. In order to listen to a song your player will need the key to decode it. If the key is on the player itself then someone, somewhere will find a way to get at it and remove the DRM.

      Just because someone has a box of fancy RFID tags does not mean that it will be any easier to listen to your music or manage the DRM. In fact, it just gets more difficult as yet another layer so-called security is added.

      What happens if you lose your RFID
  • RFID Readers & Tags (Score:3, Informative)

    by Tony.Tang (164961) <slashdotNO@SPAMsleek.hn.org> on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @10:33PM (#12019691) Homepage Journal
    RFID readers and tags are here, and they're here to stay -- mainly because they are -oh- so cheap. People often ask, "how can I build one of these things?" And, while I appreciate the coolness of building something like this, the real cool bit about RFID readers & tags is that we can build things with them very very easily.

    Phidgets [phidgets.com] is a company that sells these RFID readers and tags in an "off the shelf" manner. For a mere $90 CDN (almost nothing in USD), you can get a reader plus a whole set of tags (and of course the software to program against it with).

  • This technology is so stupidly cheap some toy company is going to jump all over this.
  • Huh? (Score:5, Informative)

    by _ph1ux_ (216706) on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @11:52PM (#12020314)
    "Since RFID Tags can hold 1Kb of Data?"

    Not all tags are that small, my company makes a series of tags that hold a *considerably* larger data package.

    128K and up...
  • by omach (322252)
    I picture Old NSA-Bob working the crowd, gathering who is at the local 2600-meeting using their under-the-skin-RFID-tags.

    Suddenly, from nowere, his spook-gadgets emits strange sounds.

    Yes! Its "Popcorn"!
  • While it's ajoke on slashdot to say "Imagine a beowulfcluster of those", in this case, it could actually make sense.

    Since those tags are produced en masse and you will get them whenever you buy (in the future), it will become trivial to get a huge bunch of them in a short time. Find a way to link them, and you could use them for building your own supercomputer.

    Well, ok, you'll need all your walls covered by them, probably...though I once read they envisaged 16kb per tag, which would make it not all that f
    • The RFID tags aren't processors, how would you make a Beowulf cluster out of them?
      • Which is why 'imagine a beowulf cluster' is a /. joke. :-)

        But clustering is feasable, as is the possibility of equally mass-produced pico-processors (like those envisaged in future 'throw-away' cellular phones). Some (not too far away) day, some nerd is going to build his own box out of these kinds of disgarded waste. And he probably will get a /. article of it too. ;-)

  • by absurdist (758409) on Wednesday March 23, 2005 @06:23AM (#12021902)
    ...are there ANY real hackers out there?

    And no, I'm not talking about 1337 case modders or overclockers. I'm talking about real hackers like this one. Doing hardware and software hacks that are done just for the sheer joy of doing them, and can be done because they CAN.

    Mod me down as flamebait if you will. This is something very cool. Who the hell cares if it's practical. Neither is a machine that can turn ordinary dog biscuits into india ink. But the hack value is enormous.

    (tip o' the pin to Bill Griffith... thanks, Griffy!)

  • But what about just sampling all the tags in one's environment and playing the results as audio? It's got to be at least as good as many of the last century's attempts to redefine music. You could get some nice wind-chime or aeolian-harp effects, or something.
  • The COMMTech chip technology used in Star Wars action figures?

    Scroll down to bottom [swfigures.com]

    Chip H.

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