Laser-Cut NFC Business Cards
Networking (the human kind you coding nerds) is quite possibly my top priority at the moment as a young freelancer, and getting people to remember me is a constant struggle. I’ve had an idea for quite a while now to create laser cut NFC business cards (inspired by dot. cards) but with my own spin on them, and now I have the opportunity to do so.
Regular dot. cards are boring. See, they just take you to a page on their website that isn’t super customized for me or you. There’s also the fact that not everyone has NFC capabilities on their phones. I wanna change both those issues, with my skillset as a designer and developer. I want to create creative wooden business cards that I can actually hand out to people.
See, my business cards would be different from dot. cards in a few ways.
- I would give each card to people I want to keep in touch with or high value clients.
- The card would have my contact info on it, but would also have a NFC tag that can be scanned
- Since NFC tags aren’t universally supported, I would also include a QR code that goes to the same link
- The cool part- each card would have a unique ID. That way, I could target the cards, and include a personal note for each person I give it to when they scan it to foster a connection.
- I could also create smaller, keychain style “cards” that are just a QR code and NFC tag for lower-value clients.
On top of all of that, having a laser cutter would support future ideas and innovation, so this wouldn’t be a one-and-done project- the items I purchase now would still be valuable and useful to me years down the road.
An important clarification: I understand your stipulation that these projects should be technically challenging, and you may be having reservations after noticing that the hardware is all kit-based. However, as you’ll see below, the coding/software development is quite extensive, and I already ran this by Ella Xu over email and she said it qualifies!
An update on why I want the laser cutter: A majority of the project certainly is setting up the connectivity features for the business cards, but I’ve seen a few laser cut business cards before (minus the connectivity features), and they’re really unique and memorable so that certainly is a priority. While I could, in theory, simply print the cards, I also see this as a fantastic opportunity to learn digifab software, hardware, and techniques. In addition, I’ve been eyeballing a few other projects, such as a wooden globe as a gift for a teacher I’ve had for most of my life, a custom stand to integrate my dock for my laptop, a laser pointer projector with some motors and mirrors, wooden mechanical sculptures, along with other miscellaneous art projects created to further my learning.
- Obtain and set up all of the purchased equipment
- Design a grayscale business card that can be laser cut effectively
- Write a script to autogenerate QR codes with unique URLs, something like camdan.link/c-123456
- Write another script to generate SVGs of the business card with the unique QR code inserted, along with the ID number in small human-readable text
- Set up a safe laser cutting environment with proper ventillation (realistically probably outside)
- Run test cuts to determine optimal focus, speed, and power settings for my wood
- Cut a bunch of business cards
- Encode and attach NFC tags with the same link as the QR code
- Create the digital counterpart of the business card on my website, with backend for custom messages and an admin panel that allows me to set custom messages
- Meet real people and give them the cards
In the end the UX should be something along the lines of this:
- Possible connection gets business card
- Scans the QR code and/or NFC tag
- It takes them to a fun URL with my digital business card and a way to download contact info, in addition to showing them a custom message I wrote to foster a business connection and help them remember who I am (“It was reall fun meeting you at the hackathon! I hope to keep in touch.“)
All I really need is the laser cutter and NFC equipment (I need an NFC encoder because my phone happens to be among the few that doesn’t support NFC yet). Everything else I already have or can source on my own. I realize that I am overbudget and do plan on paying the extra $25.45 myself.
|ZBAITU M37 Laser Engraver||https://www.amazon.com/ZBAITU-Engraver-Engraving-Accuracy-LightBurn/dp/B0BN5MDXT3||$229.99|
|Plywood Sheets||N/A - OWNED||(OWNED)|
Thanks y’all for this opportunity, it’s pretty cool!