Imagine a future in which your every belonging is marked with a unique number identifiable with the swipe of a scanner, where the location of your car is always pinpointable and where signal-emitting microchips storing personal information are implanted beneath your skin or embedded in your inner organs, it is CXJ RFID vehicle tags. In fact, billions of tags (circa 5/2010) are in use worldwide, yielding benefits from livestock tracking to vehicle immobilization. This is such a huge number that it makes one question calling RFID an emerging technology. It is possible to explain RFID using only two basic building blocks – tag and reader. The built-in antenna allows the tag to receive information from a device called a reader. The reader then converts the radio waves from the tag into digital information that’s forwarded to a down stream computer.
Let’s get started by learning more about TAGS….RFID systems include electronic devices called tags which minimally consist of a microchip, memory and an antenna. It handles communication from either the tag to the reader or from the reader to the Tag. It is also about the design and velocity of data that an RFID solution creates and streams.
A tag physically attaches to something thereby allowing its location, condition or status to be tracked via information sent using radio waves. By definition, we define a read zone as the sweet spot of the antenna where radio waves may be sent and received in such a way that reliable communications take place between the tag and the reader. RFID tags come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes and forms but have common attributes, such as: low-energy transmit and receive antennas, data storage and operating circuitry. Typically, tags without batteries are smaller and lighter than those that are active, and less expensive.
When multiple tags are present in the antenna’s sweet spot the reader uses special algorithms to handle collission and arbitration. Once data is sent by tags and captured by the reader, it is transferred through standard interfaces to a host computer, printer, database or programmable logic controller for storage or action. In some cases the readers must power, engage, download and retransmit data to the tag they encounter. Prices of tags range from 5 cents to $250.00 depending upon features, functionality and volume. It is important to realize that RFID is not just about the hardware, tags and receivers that comprise the physical infrastructure.
By understanding how RFID compares to bar codes you will gain an appreciation for its potential while learning more about how it works. Bar codes are larger than the smallest tag and very sensitive to the aspect ratio for presentation to a scanner. Tags have no moving parts and are embedded in protective material for an indestructible case and multi-year lifespan.