Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Tasker + NFC = One Less Excuse for Forgetting the Laundry

NFC is one of those cool technologies that I've always wanted to put to use, but had yet to find a calling (same goes for QR codes). And then, while surfing the web over the weekend I hit on the perfect scenario: to make my washer and dryer just a little smarter.

The idea was obvious once I read it: stick an NFC tag on both the washer and dryer. Then, after starting one or the other, touch the phone to the tag. This would then setup a timer to remind me to get my butt down stairs to change out the load.

I'm a huge fan of Tasker, and really prefer to use it to automate my phone (versus learning a number of different tools). Luckily there's the Locale NFC plugin for Tasker that allows actions to be triggered by an NFC tag. I hadn't ever used the plugin, but with my new found use-case I was ready to spend a few bucks to install it and put it to use.

Turns out, the plugin works exactly as you might expect. You link the unique ID located in the NFC tag to a specific task. In the case of the washing machine the task does the following:

  1. Say "starting washing machine. See you in an hour."
  2. Waits for 1 hour
  3. Sends both Shira and me a text message saying it's time to get the laundry

Of course, I could have the task do more, but this is a good start. And here are the tags themselves:

I'm really loving the Tasker + NFC integration. I like that I don't have to write to the NFC tag itself, and that I can tweak the action after the fact even if I'm not near the tag itself. And of course, I like that I'm only limited by my creativity with Tasker for making NFC tags useful.

Now I just need to think of other clever uses for this setup. It's a wonderfully simple way to simulate a sort of smart device. Perhaps I should put some tags on the fridge and use them to log when I need to pick up more of something? Or perhaps I can sew one into my jacket and have some action take place when I put the device up to my sleeve?

What's your favorite NFC hack? Please share.

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