QRCodes, Sociable Objects & RFID – The Oxfam Curiosity Shop in Selfridges

Tales of Things is all about memories, the stories we attach to objects as we move through life. As such we are very pleased to announce our latest partnership with Oxfam for their Curiosity Shop in Selfridges, London. The Curiosity Shop is open until 10th of April on the lower ground floor with a host of fantastic fashion on sale. All of the items have been donated to raise money for Oxfam to help fund projects around the world that support and empower vulnerable women.

Annie Lennox introduces The Curiosity Shop below:

The clothing donated has some very respectable previous owners such as Annie Lennox, Colin Firth, Helen Mirren, Kate Moss, list goes on…Each item in the shop has been tagged with a QR code which links to stories about what the money raised will buy.
Visitors to the Curiosity Shop can view these stories on their own Smartphones or use one of our bespoke RFID readers to scan the item. The readers glow when scanned near a RFID tag and play the associated narrative on the screen. Designed by Jon Rogers from the University of Dundee with tech inside from here in CASA it links direct into the Tales of Things system. Once the item has been scanned the object story will appear on a plasma screen in the store, making the object come alive.
There are some hidden gems in the collection too which have a unique story attached to them from the celebrity who donated the item such as the dress below which Annie Lennox wore at Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday party in London.

Over the last few weeks TalesofThings has been working with Oxfam to collect the celebrity stories and tag items in the store with both RFID and QRCodes. In essence this allows items of clothing to tell their story via either our bluetooth enabled curisoity reader or via our free Android/iPhone apps. Once the items have been sold, the owners are able to add their stories – via a mashup of sociable objects meets the antiques roadshow.


If you come into the shop you can try out the 
curiosity reader, scan Annies dress or any of the other items with codes and see the stories behind the objects. We are in Selfridges until April 10th, come down to grab a celebrity item tagged with their story, help raise money for Oxfam and take a look at the emerging technology behind the Internet of Things.

A massive thanks goes to Oxfam, Selfridges, Annie Lennox and the TalesofThings team who have worked hard behind the scenes, the installation is simply wonderful…
You can see a list of donated items direct via the tales of things site.

Author Bio

Andy is Director of the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis at University College London

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