RFID Talk Blog

$30K Scrabble board to be unveiled at Prague Mind Sports Festival

High-tech has invaded a staple of the board game industry. An RFID-enabled Scrabble board that cost $30,000 to produce will be unveiled next month at the Prague Mind Sports Festival in France Dec. 1-4.

An RFID-enabled Scrabble game worth $30,000 will be unveiled at the Prague Mind Sports Festival.

Designed by UK-based Mind Sports International, the game carries an RFID chip under each tile square — 225 in total — and is intended to help broadcast high-stakes Scrabble tournaments to online viewers in real time. RFID tags are able to read each Scrabble move in 974 milliseconds, transmitting the information via unique software to viewers online.

“Our goal was to help bring popular Scrabble tournaments to life, while reaching a wider audience by capturing tournament play in a technologically advanced and engaging manner,” says Dave Brannan, CEO of Mind Sports International and Living it Loving it Ltd.

“This allows us to broadcast Scrabble in all its glory, interacting with viewers that share a passion for this iconic game and mind sports as a whole across the world.”

The Scrabble board consists of nine RFID circuit boards that house 225 RFID antennas, which read each individual Scrabble square. Each Scrabble letter tile has its own uniquely identifiable RFID tag embedded within (100 in total), with an RFID circuit board enclosed in each of the players tile racks to ensure that all information is captured and showcased to the online viewers.

The tournament play software, created by  UK developers The Site Doctor, extracts the information collected via the RFID readers and relays it on screen in an easy-to-follow, graphical display alongside the HD video footage of each player.

Coupled with the online streaming of the tournament, fans of Scrabble will be able to easily track the action live as it unfolds from the venue, creating a front seat atmosphere from the comfort of their own homes.

In addition to the technology integration, a great deal of work has also gone into the aesthetics of the new Scrabble system. The board’s turntable unit has a carbon fibre finish and integrated RGB controlled LED lighting system in order to bring additional style and customization to the table – a design which has quickly become a focal point of the festival following recent pictures being leaked via Twitter.

The RFID-enabled Scrabble board will receive some world-class reviews during the Prague Mind Sports Festival, as current World Scrabble Champion, Nigel Richards will be competing.

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