Tech Search

Custom Search

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

History and Scope of RFID

History and Scope of RFID

Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is a technology that uses communication through the use of radio waves to exchange data between a reader and an electronic tag attached to an object, for the purpose of identification and tracking.
In 1945 Leon Theremin invented an espionage tool for the Soviet Union which retransmitted incident radio waves with audio information. Sound waves vibrated a diaphragm which slightly altered the shape of the resonator, which modulated the reflected radio frequency. Even though this device was a covert listening device, not an identification tag, it is considered to be a predecessor of RFID technology, because it was likewise passive, being energized and activated by waves from an outside source.
Similar technology, such as the IFFtransponder developed in the United Kingdom, was routinely used by the allies in World War II to identify aircraft as friend or foe. Transponders are still used by most powered aircraft to this day. Another early work exploring RFID is the landmark 1948 paper by Harry Stockman, titled "Communication by Means of Reflected Power" . Stockman predicted that "... considerable research and development work has to be done before the remaining basic problems in reflected-power communication are solved, and before the field of useful applications is explored."
Mario Cardullo's device in 1973 was the first true ancestor of modern RFID, as it was a passive radio transponder with memory. The initial device was passive, powered by the interrogating signal, and was demonstrated in 1971 to the New York Port Authority and other potential users and consisted of a transponder with 16 bit memory for use as a toll device. The basic Cardullo patent covers the use of RF, sound and light as transmission media. The original business plan presented to investors in 1969 showed uses in transportation (automotive vehicle identification, automatic toll system, electronic license plate, electronic manifest, vehicle routing, vehicle performance monitoring), banking (electronic check book, electronic credit card), security (personnel identification, automatic gates, surveillance) and medical (identification, patient history).
An early demonstration of reflected power (modulated backscatter) RFID tags, both passive and semi-passive, was performed by Steven Depp, Alfred Koelle, and Robert Freyman at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1973.The portable system operated at 915 MHz and used 12-bit tags. This technique is used by the majority of today's UHFID and microwave RFID tags.
The first patent to be associated with the abbreviation RFID was granted to Charles Walton in 1983.
The largest deployment of active RFID is the US Department of Defense use of Savi active tags on every one of its more than a million shipping containers that travel outside of the continental United States. The largest passive RFID deployment is the enterprise-wide deployment performed by Wal*Mart which instrumented over 2800 retail stores with over 25,000 reader systems, however the exact number is considered 'corporate confidential'.

RFIDs are easy to conceal or incorporate in other items. For example, in 2009 researchers at Bristol University successfully glued RFID micro-transponders to live ants in order to study their behaviour. This trend towards increasingly miniaturized RFIDs is likely to continue as technology advances.
Hitachi holds the record for the smallest RFID chip, at 0.05mm x 0.05mm. This is 1/64th the size of the previous record holder, the mu-chip. Manufacture is enabled by using the silicon-on-insulator (SOI) process. These dust-sized chips can store 38-digit numbers using 128-bit Read Only Memory (ROM). A major challenge is the attachment of the antennas, thus limiting read range to only millimetres.
Potential alternatives to the radio frequencies (0.125–0.1342, 0.140–0.1485, 13.56, and 840–960 MHz) used are seen in optical RFID (or OPID) at 333 THz (900 nm), 380 THz (788 nm), 750 THz (400 nm). The awkward antennas of RFID can be replaced with photovoltaic components and IR-LEDs on the ICs.

RFID has many applications; for example, it is used in enterprise supply chain management to improve the efficiency of inventory tracking and management. The Healthcare industry has used RFID to create tremendous productivity increases by eliminating "parasitic" roles that don't add value to an organization such as counting, looking for things, or auditing items. Many financial institutions use RFID to track key assets and automate Sarbanes Oxley SOX compliance. Also with recent advances in social media RFID is being used to tie the physical world with the virtual world. RFID in Social Media first came to light in 2010 with facebook's annual conference.
Barcode systems though used for product information, inventory control, etc have some drawbacks as compared to RFID. The amount of information stored in a barcode is very less as compared to RFID. RFID can store up to 1000 bytes of data. An RFID is specific to each item, whereas the barcode is not. Barcode needs human interaction for proper operation. It requires time-of-sight access to an optical scanner for the product related information. The barcode is to be replaced if the information it contains needs modification, but in RFID it can be modified at stages of the supply chain by the interaction between the microchip and the reader software. The barcode system is less accurate as compared to RFID.
 Working of  RFID click here

Related Blogs

Related Posts with Thumbnails