RFID Talk Blog

RFID adds special touch to University of Texas graduation

College students are increasingly developing innovative projects that utilize UHF RFID technology. Last month RFID 24-7 wrote about an RFID-enabled bicycle lock developed by college students at the University of Pennsylvania. Eventually, they hope to commercialize the solution.

This month college students at the University of Texas at Dallas unveiled a project designed to give graduating seniors more exposure as they received their diplomas.

RFID allowed attendees to see graduates on the big screen during graduation at the University of Texas at Dallas.

As part of their senior design program in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science, students designed a solution to ensure that family members and friends watching the ceremony in person and on the Web stream knew exactly when their graduate walked across the stage.

The RFID system triggered the graduate’s name, degree and college major to be displayed on a video screen, and a camera captured them crossing the stage to receive their diploma.

Each student carried a “walking card” with an embedded RFID chip. When presented to the orator before going on stage, the card was read by an Alien reader and displayed the student’s image and graduation information on the big screen

The group first tried using bar code technology, but found that it was unreliable.

“We wanted something that was entirely automated,” says Jasmine Singh, one of the students who created the project.

The graduation display was developed through the senior design program, in which seniors design a capstone project using the knowledge they have acquired in traditional classroom settings and outside the classroom.

“This project is just one small example of the innovation our graduates are already doing and will continue to do as they head off to the next phase of their careers,” says University president David E. Daniel.

While it is possible that the system will be commercialized, the developing students were happier about their grade: they received an A-Plus.

Singh hopes that future senior design projects will enhance their idea so that it can be used at all graduation ceremonies at the University of Texas, not just for the School of Engineering.

“There is definitely the potential to commercialize this, although a lot would need to be worked on for it to work at large scale graduations with thousands of students,” says Singh. “This was a senior design project, so there is definitely room for improvement before commercialization.”

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