What is RFID

what is RFID

 Image source: RFID Security

RFID is the acronym for radio frequency identification. Radio frequency identification is not well known but it is a technology that has been under development for a long time.

When using RFID technology there is a small chip and an antenna that makes up the device.

The microchip is what is able to carry information. Usually these chips are able to hold about 2,000 bytes of data. Depending on the chip and what it has been made for it may carry less data. There is a variety of data that can be coded on to microchips and the uses for RFID devices vary greatly.What is RFID

Applications of RFID

RFID devices are able to be used similarly to barcodes on products in a store. It is also similar to the strip you find on the back of your debit cards. The RFID devices are used to identify.

Whether the identification is for a product or information needed for a transaction. When there is a RFID device it must be scanned to attain the information that is in the chip.

With RFID technology bar codes could become obsolete. RFID devices are read quickly in less than 100 milliseconds. Barcodes work and every product that you buy has one. The problem with bar codes is the precision that is needed between the scanner and the bar code.

When a barcode is created it has a specific design that is used to indicate it is a certain product. If that design is altered the barcode will not work. A bar code could rip, become crinkled on the packaging, or simply not print well. In this case it is no longer going to scan.

RFID devices do not need to be scanned in this manner. The chips can be read from a few feet. If you have a scanner that uses a higher frequency you may be able to scan a RFID device from a distance up to twenty feet.

RFID devices do not have to be on the surface on the product. They are able to be within the packaging of a product which protects the device.

There is not worry about the wear and tear you will see with a barcode become it is not subject to the elements. RFID devices are not limited to being used only on products or by businesses.

Technology of RFID

While RFID technology is not well know it has been around for a long time. The technology was created more than fifty years ago. It has recently started to become a viable option for companies because of breakthroughs in the technology.

These devices are now able to be placed on items for a low cost and can be used as throw away devices. Companies now have the option to use RFID technology much like barcodes on products.

Parts Involved

A RFID device is composed of three parts. There is a scanning antenna, a transceiver that is able to decode the information, and the transponder. The transponder is the RFID tag or the microchip with the information coded on to it.

The scanning antenna is able to produce two different radio frequency signals in a small area. These signals are the way the RFID tag transmits the information that is coded on the chip. It also produces the RFID tag with the energy to transmit this data to the transceiver. This technology is used when a RFID tag is passive.

rfid radiation

Image source: here.

(RFID radiation via cell phone use is harmful & poses a data security risk. )

Related: How Close is Too Close for Cell Phone Radiation Exposure?

A passive RFID tag does not use a battery or power source. Without needing a battery these chips are able to last for long periods of time even well past the need for the technology.

The only reason the chip would lose the information coded is if it becomes damaged before passing along the information. They are very small devices as well.

These scanning antennas do not have a set appearance. When using RFID technology you are able to customize it for your needs. There are antenna that are able to be permanently attach to a surface if it will not need to be moved. If you prefer there are hand-held antennas for situations that you will need to change the scanner’s position.

A passive RFID device does not activate until it comes into range with a scanning antenna. The tag will be noticed by the antenna and the information will be transferred. This information is taken by the scanning antenna and used.

An active RFID device does use a battery. They are typically larger devices compared to the passive version. The reason active devices are preferable is that they can be scanned from much further away. With a battery they are able to produce their own signal and will transmit it from further away.

While RFID does have its perks there are some downfalls with its technology. There are instances where the devices will encounter reader collision or tag collision. When this happens there are too many signals being taken in at a time and the scanner cannot properly read the signal.

To avoid this problem systems should be set up correctly. The collision will happen if there are too many tags in a smaller area and they are being read very quickly. It is easier for the scanner to read the tags if they are being read one at a time instead of all at once.

With the versatility of RFID technology these devices are not limited to being used as a bar code. This is only one of the many ways to use this technology to make life easier. These devices are often used by businesses, companies, and consumers to keep track of their items that otherwise could not be found.

Tracking Applications 

Any product can be fitted with a RFID device so it can be tracked no matter where it ends up as long as it comes into contact with a antenna scanner. There are many variations of these devices including active and passive devices.

A great use for this type of device is in animal tracking tags. The passive devices can be made to be very small. They can be as tiny as a grain of rice and therefore will not irritate the animal once inserted. A simple procedure of inserting the chipped device must be done once and then it can be left for the life of the animal.

Chipping pets has long been a popular way to keep track of those furry family members. Before chipping technology tattoos were used. The issue with tattoos on an animal is the cases of fading as the animal grows older.

The tattoo may become too light to see. It also can be quite difficult to look an animal over when it is under the distress of being in a strange place with a strange person.

Companies that work with wood products need a way to identify what material their products are. The RFID tags are often shaped as screws and inserted into wood to help identify what type of tree the material came from once they are shipped.protective case from radiation

(NOTE: A Safe Sleeve RFID Case can minimize RFID radiation from your cell phone while keeping your data safe.) 

There is a company that has specialized in fitting these types of instruments with RFID devices. The small RFID devices are created for the consumer and then fitted into the instrument.

The information that is coded on the chip is given to any law enforcement officials, those that sell instruments, and repair shops. That way if one of the instruments come into one of these establishments they can be returned to their owner if stolen.

Products that use anti-theft tags are using RFID technology. The tags are RFID devices that will provide the signal for the scanning antenna to sound an alarm. The scanning antenna in this case is in the doorway of the store that the item belongs to.

For companies or businesses that use access cards they are able to use RFID technology. The cards can be created with an RFID device. Their entrances are then fitted with a scanning antenna that informs doorways to open only when the correct RFID device is scanned through.

When there are large items shipped across the country or across the world in cargo ships or trains large RFID devices are used to track a company's items. These RFID devices are big enough to transmit a strong radio frequency once they reach their destination to be scanned and tracked.

RFID devices are a great way to track anything that is valuable to yourself or your company. Many professional musicians will have custom instruments created for them. When these instruments are crafted they can become very valuable. They can be worth tens of thousands of dollars.

With such a wide variety of uses RFID technology is becoming more popular and the technology more researched. There have been advancements that have made it possible to make devices are are cheap enough to sell to companies in bulk. With the price of RFID devices dropping it can become an easy to access technology for all companies whether they are big or small.