Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)
Radio Frequency identification (RFID) is a technology that uses radio waves to transfer data between a reader and an electronic tag which is attached to a particular object. Typical uses are for object identification and tracking.
The use of RFID technology will no doubt, continue to multiply as the use of barcodes have since there introduction over 40 years ago.
For example, one use of RFID would be to give each product in a supermarket its own unique RFID Tag (identifying number). The RFID Tagged item would be selected by the shopper and placed in their shopping basket.
Once the shopper had selected all the items they would like to purchase they would then proceed to the tills, however, instead of having to individually scan each of these items, the shopper would simply walk through a RFID Reader Gateway (for example) which would read all the RFID Tags contained in their shopping trolley or basket, they would then pay for their items and leave the store.
Other uses would be to pack an RFID Tag inside a package or box of medical supplies, this RFID Tag would contain data relevant to the package contents, the expiry dates of the items etc. These tags could then be read using an RFID Reader and information regarding the package contents would then be presented to the user without the need to open the package.
The major advantage of using RFID Tags is that multiple RFID Tags can be read at the same time, and that they do not have to be visible, unlike barcodes which can only be read one at a time and need to be placed on the outside of items to be scanned.
Most RFID Tags contain two parts, firstly a circuit which stores and process’s information and the other an areal (antenna) for receiving and transmitting the signal)
Typically two types of RFID Tags are available, RFID Tags which need to have a power source (Active RFID Tag) and RFID Tags which do not need to have a power source (Passive RFID Tag) as they are powered by the RFID Reader, at the time that the RFID Reader reads the information from it.
RFID Readers are classed under two headings, Fixed RFID Readers and Mobile RFID Readers.