Anyone who has been to a commencement ceremony knows that that moment of recognition can be fleeting and picking out a student from your seat in the audience is something akin to finding a needle in a haystack.
A group of engineering and computer science students at the University of Texas at Dallas, however, have developed an RFID solution that could make the notoriously short walk across the commencement stage just a little more meaningful for ceremony attendees.
The solution is designed to ensure that family members and friends watching the ceremony either in person or on a live Web stream know exactly when their student will walk across the stage. The students’ used an RFID system to sync a graduate’s name, degree and major to be displayed on a video screen at the same time that a camera caught them crossing the stage.
Developing a solution that worked was a challenge for the students, with early ideas including having graduates step on a floor mat to activate the process and display their information. But according to the University News Center, the team of students decided to pursue RFID technology because it did not interfere with the ceremony or add to the orator’s duties of reading names aloud.
For the commencement ceremony, each student’s information was assigned a unique ID number and embedded into a chip or sticker. That sticker was then placed on a card, read and scanned by an orator at the podium.
The system was developed as part of a senior design program, in which seniors develop a real-world solution using the knowledge they have acquired both in and outside the classroom. Commercialization of the students’ RFID system has been considered, but for now the hope is for other students teams to build onto the system and expand its use to all UT Dallas graduation ceremonies.