RFID

21 01 2008

RFID, or Radio Frequency IDentification chips to be more precise will be some of the technologies we will be using and exploring through the following 4 months. RFID is a rather old invention, first published in 1949 and has since then been further developed in several directions. RFID tags come in three general varieties: passive, active, or semi-passive (also known as battery-assisted). Passive tags require no internal power source, thus being pure passive devices (they are only active when a reader is nearby to power them), whereas semi-passive and active tags require a power source, usually a small battery.To communicate, tags respond to queries generating signals that must not create interference with the readers, as arriving signals can be very weak and must be told apart.The new RFID chips have a 128-bit ROM for storing a unique 38 digit number, like their predecessor. Hitachi used semiconductor miniaturization technology and electron beams to write data on the chip substrates to achieve the new, smaller size.

rfid-overview.jpg

Hitachi’s mu-chips are already in production; they were used to prevent ticket forgery at last year’s Aichi international technology exposition. RFID ‘powder,’ on the other hand, is so much smaller that it can easily be incorporated into thin paper, like that used in paper currency and gift certificates.

The worlds smallest RFID chip

Problems concerning use of RFID  The use of RFID technology has engendered considerable controversy and even product boycotts by consumer privacy advocates such as Katherine Albrecht and Liz McIntyre of CASPIAN who refer to RFID tags as “spychips“. The two main privacy concerns regarding RFID are:

  • Since the owner of an item will not necessarily be aware of the presence of an RFID tag and the tag can be read at a distance without the knowledge of the individual, it becomes possible to gather sensitive data about an individual without consent.
  • If a tagged item is paid for by credit card or in conjunction with use of a loyalty card, then it would be possible to indirectly deduce the identity of the purchaser by reading the globally unique ID of that item (contained in the RFID tag).

600px-stoprfid-logo.jpg

 Well, despite the problems and sketicism concerning use of RFID technollogy I choose to not see it as a problem but as a challange, because there is no doubt, this is an area with great potential and benefit for mankind.. I look forward to exploring it further!

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