RFID for Beginners
RFID technology is used frequently today and has been around since the 1920s, but not many people know about, or understand it. RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification and is used to store and retrieve information. This information is stored and retrieved using RFID tags or transponders. RFID tags are small and can be incorporated into many products. The tags have antennas that allow them to receive and respond to radio-frequency queries from an RFID transceiver.
Two Types of RFID Tags
There are two types of RFID tags; active tags, and passive tags. Passive tags do not have their own power supply, but rather receive their power from a tiny electrical current present in the antenna that is induced by an incoming radio frequency scan. Because of the small power present in the system, passive RFID tags are used only in short distances (such as an ID card).
Active RFID tags have a power source and therefore are much stronger and can be used over larger distances and are therefore more highly effective. Active RFID tags also have the potential to store more information than their passive counterparts. Some active RFID tags have a battery life of up to ten years.
The System of RFID
RFID works off of a system that relies on tags, tag readers, tag programming stations, sorting equipment, circulation readers, and tag inventory wands. RFID is generally used in security, because security gates are programmed to read the RFID tags and then either open or close accordingly. The system helps the information be easily transmitted via an RFID device. Systems have evolved over the years along with RFID chips. The hope is that RFID will one day be available to everyone (meaning consumers) because it will be more efficient and cost effective to implement RFID processes.
Where is RFID Used?
RFID can be found almost everywhere. RFID can be found in bookstores and CD stores. The little alarm that sounds if a CD has not been scanned is made possible by an RFID chip. RFID chips are found on animal tags, on books in libraries, in car alarms and car lock systems. RFID can also be used to detect motion. This could be very useful in the coming years in terms of prisons. In 2004 the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRH) approved a $415,000 contract to test RFID technology in prisons. The idea is that the prisoners will ware wristbands that will watch their movement. If there is any movement, which is out of the ordinary, security will be alerted. This technology will be employed in many states in the coming years.
RFID technology seems to have endless possibilities. Some critics of RFID technology say that it violates the privacy of citizens. This is based on the fact that RFID can be used to track whereabouts of people and obtain personal information. Putting all of this power into a little chip makes it undetectable. However, RFID can also possibly be used in driver’s licenses for faster police scanners, and as a way to monitor hospital patients. With every potentially harmful application of RFID, there are several wonderful applications. It will be interesting to see all of the wonderful applications of RFID in the future.