Software Company Uses RFID To Bring Museum Exhibits To Life

ANN ARBOR — The Ann Arbor software company NovoDynamics Inc.will demonstrate an integration of radio frequency identification and software technologies that personalize visitors’ experiences of exhibits at the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum’s TechTwilight event on Friday, May 16.

Under the prototype system, with the working title of RFED (Radio Frequency EDucation), museum exhibits “recognize” visitors when they approach and offer them the opportunity to test their understanding of the exhibit content.

The technology provides a novel experience for visitors and allows exhibit designers, museum curators and educators to gain insights about which exhibits are visited and whether visitors, including students, understand the material presented.

During the TechTwilight event, NovoDynamics will also debut a real-time, Harry Potter-style “Marauders’ Map,” which will reveal museum visitors moving between different exhibits, displaying their assigned badge names and footprints tracing their paths as they move.

The system uses RFID — low-power radio frequency electromagnetic fields that transfer data, usually by identifying and tracking tags attached to objects (in this case, attendees’ name badges). Usually, tags are powered by, and read at, short distances — up to a few meters — collecting energy from the interrogating electromagnetic field, then acting as a passive transponder to transmit the information stored in them.

In addition to NovoDynamics and the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, the RFED pilot has been supported by TorranceLearning (, a Chelsea-based learning technology company.

“As a technology company, we are passionate about enhancing science, technology, engineering and mathematics education in our schools and in our community — a passion we share with the Hands-On Museum,” said NovoDynamics CEO David A. Rock. “By supporting this event, we are demonstrating that technology is both useful and fun.”

TechTwilight 2014 runs from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Friday, May 16 at the museum, located at 220 E. Ann St., Ann Arbor. For tickets and additional information about this event, visit

NovoDynamics develops pattern recognition and predictive analytics software. It is a portfolio company of In-Q-Tel, the venture capital arm of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. Its products are used worldwide by business, government and academia to capitalize on large, disparate data assets. The company also offers software products, based on similar technologies, designed to capture, classify and extract critical data from documents by converting image-based information into digital formats for business process automation, content management, and search and retrieval. More at

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