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I was basically trying to get more info on the future of RFID and also was looking for a killer app which is going to use RFID..
For e.g. there is talk about a Google app indexing all the house hold articles (by automatically scanning RFIDs in the house) and allowing the user to search for physical objects as apposed something online. Using this you would be able to search for your car keys, TV remote, your Kid's toy in Google.
RFID technology is a very promising solution in inventory tracking and widely used in united states. This technology has a very high potential future and will earn billions of dollars in 5 to 10 years time worldwide. It started in inventory tracking such as pallets, clothes , stored foods and now being used in biometrics, highways' toll fee collection and company security pass/employee's ID. Though both active and passive tags are now available in the market, i believe passive tags will have a more consumer applications compared to active tags because of its cost and size. Active tags are more expensive and larger than passive tags due to built-in battery internally but its application is more on higher scan range 100meters and more! RFID is the future!
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is an automatic identification method, relying on storing and remotely retrieving data using devices called RFID tags or transponders. An RFID tag is a small object that can be attached to or incorporated into a product, animal, or person. RFID tags contain silicon chips and antennas to enable them to receive and respond to radio-frequency queries from an RFID transceiver. Passive tags require no internal power source, whereas active tags require a power source. Types of RFID tags
RFID tags can be either passive, semi-passive (also known as semi-active), or active.
Passive RFID tags have no internal power supply. The minute electrical current induced in the antenna by the incoming radio frequency signal provides just enough power for the CMOS integrated circuit (IC) in the tag to power up and transmit a response. Most passive tags signal by backscattering the carrier signal from the reader. This means that the aerial (antenna) has to be designed to both collect power from the incoming signal and also to transmit the outbound backscatter signal. The response of a passive RFID tag is not just an ID number (GUID); the tag chip can contain nonvolatile EEPROM for storing data. Lack of an onboard power supply means that the device can be quite small: commercially available products exist that can be embedded under the skin. As of 2006, the smallest such devices measured 0.15 mm × 0.15 mm, and are thinner than a sheet of paper (7.5 micrometers). The addition of the antenna creates a tag that varies from the size of postage stamp to the size of a post card. Passive tags have practical read distances ranging from about 2 mm (ISO 14443) up to a few meters (EPC and ISO 18000-6) depending on the chosen radio frequency and antenna design/size. Due to their simplicity in design they are also suitable for manufacture with a printing process for the antennae. Passive RFID tags do not require batteries, and can be much smaller and have an unlimited life span. Non-silicon tags made from polymer semiconductors are currently being developed by several companies globally. Simple laboratory printed polymer tags operating at 13.56 MHz were demonstrated in 2005 by both PolyIC (Germany) and Philips (The Netherlands). If successfully commercialized, polymer tags will be roll printable, like a magazine, and much less expensive than silicon-based tags.
Because passive tags are cheaper to manufacture and have no battery, the majority of RFID tags in existence are of the passive variety. As of 2005, the lowest cost EPC Gen 2 tags available on the market are as low as 7.2 cents each in volumes of 10 million units or more. Current demand for RFID integrated circuit chips is expected to grow rapidly based on these prices.
Semi-passive RFID tags are very similar to passive tags except for the addition of a small battery. This battery allows the tag IC to be constantly powered, which removes the need for the aerial to be designed to collect power from the incoming signal. Aerials can therefore be optimized for the backscattering signal. Semi-passive RFID tags are faster in response and therefore stronger in reading ratio compared to passive tags.
Unlike passive and semi-passive RFID tags, active RFID tags (also known as beacons) have their own internal power source which is used to power any ICs and generate the outgoing signal. They are often called beacons because they broadcast their own signal. They may have longer range and larger memories than passive tags, as well as the ability to store additional information sent by the transceiver. To economize power consumption, many beacon concepts operate at fixed intervals. At present, the smallest active tags are about the size of a coin. Many active tags have practical ranges of tens of meters, and a battery life of up to 5 years.
The RFID system
An RFID system may consist of several components: tags, tag readers, edge servers, middleware, and application software.
The purpose of an RFID system is to enable data to be transmitted by a mobile device, called a tag, which is read by an RFID reader and processed according to the needs of a particular application. The data transmitted by the tag may provide identification or location information, or specifics about the product tagged, such as price, color, date of purchase, etc. The use of RFID in tracking and access applications first appeared during the 1980s. RFID quickly gained attention because of its ability to track moving objects. As the technology is refined, more pervasive and possibly invasive uses for RFID tags are in the works.
In a typical RFID system, individual objects are equipped with a small, inexpensive tag. The tag contains a transponder with a digital memory chip that is given a unique electronic product code. The interrogator, an antenna packaged with a transceiver and decoder, emits a signal activating the RFID tag so it can read and write data to it. When an RFID tag passes through the electromagnetic zone, it detects the reader's activation signal. The reader decodes the data encoded in the tag's integrated circuit (silicon chip) and the data is passed to the host computer. The application software on the host processes the data, often employing Physical Markup Language (PML).
Take the example of books in a library. Security gates can detect whether or not a book has been properly checked out of the library. When users return items, the security bit is re-set and the item record in the Integrated library system is automatically updated. In some RFID solutions a return receipt can be generated. At this point, materials can be roughly sorted into bins by the return equipment. Inventory wands provide a finer detail of sorting. This tool can be used to put books into shelf-ready order.