Saturday, October 25, 2008

Radio Frequency Identification Technology

As the name suggests, the Radio Frequency Identification Technology (RFID) is the one that uses radio waves to identify the object in the store or the book in the library or an individual at any place.

How it works

The technology simply requires a microchip, an antenna and a reader. The serial number is given to the object or the individual that gives them the identity. This microchip is attached to the antenna and the two together are called as RFID tag. As the identification signal in the form of radio waves are given by the microchip, the antenna helps in the transmission of these signals. The signals are then picked up by the reader. This reader converts the signals in the digital waves and transmits it to your computer that finally interprets them as image.

It is a modification of the barcode technology which is based on the line of sight concept. Also if the bar code gets damaged due to any reason then it becomes hard to identify the object. Such shortcomings are absent in the Radio Frequency Identification Technology as the reader can read the RFID tag till the tag is within the range of the reader and much faster than in the bar code.

The technology works on three frequencies: low, medium and high. High frequency transfer more amounts of data and is for tracing objects like moving cars, and in spying objects in long range. But it is highly expensive, requiring high energy. The low frequency RFID tag is used for inventory management within short range.

Where is the technology used?

Almost everywhere. The technology is finding its application in the health industry, warehousing, libraries, military, spy departments and many more.

The technology is recently been applied by the Wal Mart to manage its supply chain. It is finding application in the retail stores, warehousing and supply chain management so as to locate where the product is exactly, how much is there in store and also track the product from the time it is in the storage till it is supplied to the consumer.

In the hospitals the technology is used to track the patients as well as the machines. The technology is useful to track the patients who have undergone critical treatment and are needed to be monitored after they move out of the hospital. The equipments in different section of the hospital can also be located. This is done by placing or embedding a small microchip that give them a particular serial number or identification number.

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