RFID – Some Basic Facts

Comments Off on RFID – Some Basic Facts 12 October 2011

RFID is an acronym for ‘Radio Frequency Identification’. It involves the use of an object usually made of plastic or metal to identify an item in a similar way to bar codes identify items. In fact, they are utilized in a very similar manner to bar codes and, at least for the immediate future, are usually used in conjunction with bar codes.

However, RFID tags are a great deal more adaptable than a piece of paper with a few black stripes on it. RFID tags can be and are being sewn into clothing and fitted under the skins of animals and humans for ease of tracking. Many of the goods you buy in supermarkets these days have RFID tags concealed in them, but do not try looking for them because they can be minuscule. They can also be under the labels of those tins of beans on your shelf.

An RFID tag is deployed to be able to follow an item from manufacturer to consumer, but particularly when it is in the storehouse or supermarket waiting to be sold. A tag reader will be able to transmit the tag’s information back to a computer to warn management that something is near its sell-by-date, for example.

Tags in livestock permit the slaughterhouse to be able to track the animal back to a farm and hand this information on to the butcher. An RFID tag under your dog’s skin or your car’s bonnet will permit it to be found if lost or stolen.

There are basically two types of RFID tags: the passive sort and the active kind and there is a hybrid as well. The passive tag is similar to a bar code. It carries the same information and then more besides. Like a bar code, it can do nothing on its own, but when it is read it will disclose its data. These tag readers give the tag sufficient power to be able to reflect the information back to it.

The active tags have a battery and a transmitter constructed into them, so that they can actively broadcast the data all the time and the hybrids will only transmit when ‘turned on’ by a tag reader.

There is still some disagreement about how far away a tag reader can read a tag. In the instance of a passive tag, it centres on the power that the reader can supply over a long distance. Most are designed to work over only a few inches or feet, but more powerful ones could be constructed. Active and hybrid tags actively broadcast, so they can be read from 100 metres (300 feet) or more.

These tags have been around for a very long time in one form or another, but certainly since the Second World War, when they were used to identify home-coming British planes to save them from the RADAR-directed anti-aircraft guns.

The concern as far as many organizations are concerned, is that technology has advanced so much that the tags can be almost invisible and the readers could be anywhere, which evokes concerns for personal privacy.

Owen Jones, the writer of this article writes on quite a few topics, but is now involved with the best RFID printer. If you would like to know more, please go to our website at Active RFID Management.

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