Home Fear and Impatience are Killing the Nabaztag Bunnies

Fear and Impatience are Killing the Nabaztag Bunnies

In the latest Gartner Hype Cycle report, ReadWriteWeb commented on RFID as being stuck in the “Trough of Disillusionment”. While the report argues that RFID is likely to emerge in 5-10 years for inventory purposes, this far off glimmer of hope is not enough to hold back the tidal wave of ennui washing over the industry. According to a recent article by Engadget, consumer RFID company Violet has filed for bankruptcy. Best known for programmable RFID rabbit Nabaztag, Violet needs another company to step in before September 4th or unfortunately its rabbits and mirrors will be nothing more than inanimate plastic.

While RFID tags are primarily used for inventorying purposes, the concept has also been used to create games and track bicycles, passports and luggage. Nevertheless, just as the RFID is currently inappropriate for warehouse use, it’s also inappropriate as an entertainment device or a security measure.

Before Nabaztag, Mattel’s HyperScan was an RFID scanning game incorporating character cards and video game play. Launched in 2006 and discontinued in 2008, reviewers complained that the system took more than 20 seconds to scan and load each individual battle. And if adult reviewers didn’t have the patience to play, you know the targeted 8-12-year-old audience found it infuriating.

As for security, there have also been several attempts to use the RFID as an asset tracker. ImmobiTag encourages users to track their bicycles, FKI Logistek integrates RFID in airport baggage handling, and in a widely disputed move in 2006, the US government began issuing passports with RFID chips embedded in them. While all of these solutions were originally employed for security purposes, a recent video by whitehat hacker Chris Paget builds a great case against the RFID tag.

The problem with a programmable chip is simply that it can be cloned and reprogrammed. In the case of the passports, what was once criticized as being a Federal invasion of privacy, is now a security concern on its own. Suddenly the RFID chip has become the internet underground’s bubonic plague. Duct tape wallet talisman and microwave rituals are being used to ward it off.

In a time when surveillance and identity theft are real concerns, the sweet little Nabaztag bunny simply couldn’t break free of the negative connotations that RFID conjures. In this day and age, the world’s simply too paranoid or impatient to follow the white rabbit.

Thanks to Daniel Williams for the tip!

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The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

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