Monday, June 27, 2005

Radio Frequency Identification - A.K.A RFID

Radio Frequency Identification isn't really a new technology, yet its applications and the mere power of this 4 letters seem to go unnoticed throughout the industry. RFID or Radio Frequency Identification is a term used to describe an object that can wirelessly transmit an identity (in the form of a serial number) of an object or person using radio waves. RFID is commonly grouped under the category of automatic identification but what uses does this technology really have.

Bar Codes, optical scanners and even biometric and retinal scanners are all useful in today's world. A bar code is simply scanned and immediately the computer is able to display all the information about that object. Biometric scanners will scan the fingerprint of the user and Retinal scanners will view the retina of one's eye and immediately a human being is identified. But all this technology has one thing in common. They require the user to manually scan each barcode over, or require the user to press his finger down on a pad, whereas RFID is very different. With Radio Frequency identification, all this is immediately done automatically. For instance take the task of shopping at the grocery store. Each object will simply have an RFID tag located somewhere on the packaging. The user then goes about his or her shopping and when it's time to checkout they no longer need to wait as an attendant manually scans each object. Instead your groceries will actually send a signal to the cashier indicating how much the item costs. This will take only a couple of seconds as each grocery "talks" to the scanner and immediately you are ready to make a payment. Lines will no longer form and the task of buying groceries is no longer daunting. Losing keys will also be of riddance if an RFID tag is attached onto your keychain. Simply running a program on your home computer will locate the exact position of keys anywhere in the house and this tag will cost only around a dollar or so. We can even see the application of these tags in our road transport services. Toll highways all collect information about your car through a transponder which in fact is an RFID tag. Even gas stations employ the use of the "speedpass" which is nothing but an RFID tag. Its applications are endless in today's world from the tracking of lost objects to a convenient payment option, but it's only a matter of time before RFID tags will take over. It's only a matter of time before human beings will have RFID tags implanted in them which will contain all their information. Passports and Photo ID will disappear and so will wallets as a wave of your hand will send out all information and can even make a payment.

For more information visit the RFID Journal

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