The first four weeks of this semester have been all about getting up to speed on several aspects of NFC and RFID. From now on it will be just one project until summer, combined with several workshops on physical computing. We have been given several design briefs to choose from. Among the briefs i am sure there is some that will result in an interesting project.
I have an issue with RFID in that it feels very limited to work with. It's in one way just an advanced barcode. RFID's main feature is to identify whatever the tag has been stuck on. Compared to barcodes RFID's main advantage is that it can be read through other materials (ie. it can be invisible, inside stuff). This feature enables a host of design opportunities that e.g. barcodes can't compete with. There are tags that are read/write enabled, but so far we have just worked with the read only types. The solution to make anything interesting with RFID is not in the tag it self, but in how the system around it is designed. Maybe that is how designers should work with technology, but active and networked sensors are arguably more sexy. On the other hand having such a limited and simple (can that be be translated into robust?) technology makes the making of experience protoypes during the design process manageable for a mere product designer.
Our tutors has encouraged us to work with the physical appearance of our project, and that is a good thing. Often when i see interaction design projects they have a haphazard approach to product design. Maybe being a bit ambitious, before i know what my project will be, i want to have a strong focus on the design of my upcoming project.