RFID - News, Features, and Slideshows


  • High-tech amusement park keeps special-needs guests connected

    Delivering uninterrupted <a href="http://www.networkworld.com/topics/wireless.html">wireless</a> coverage throughout a 25-acre park wasn't easy, but it's necessary to help keep the guests at Morgan's Wonderland safe. The Austin, Texas, theme park, which just kicked off its second season, hosts thousands of special-needs children, adults and their families. Each guest wears an RFID wristband that not only tracks their location in the park but also links to critical personal information, such as medical conditions and allergies.

  • RFID could ease hunt for lost IT gear

    If concerns about cost and security can be overcome, RFID technology could help solve a growing problem in large <a href="http://www.computerworld.com/s/topic/154/Data+Center">data centers</a>: losing track of IT equipment.

  • Carter Holt Harvey wins RFID patent appeal

    Carter Holt Harvey has successfully appealed the granting of a patent to international forest products company Weyerhaeuser for the &#8220;invention&#8221; of an information management system for silviculture based on RFID tags.

  • RFID chips for patient tracking on cards at DHB

    Waitemata District Health Board is on the hunt for a system that will let it track patients and equipment in a new $48 million hospital wing.
    The system could have patients tagged with radio frequency chips to help track their movements.
    Spokeswoman Lydia Aydon says the system will be used in the Lakeview extension at North Shore Hospital, which will house a redesigned emergency department and new 50-bed assessment and diagnostic unit.
    The board is exploring options for tracking patients and equipment in order to &quot;improve the efficient working of the hospital and help maximise the time of clinical staff&quot;.
    Health Alliance &#8211; which provides IT services for Waitemata and Counties Manukau health boards &#8211; has called for expressions of interest from potential vendors.
    Procurement specialist Wayne Morris says the system could be based on RFID technology, or ultra wideband radio technology &#8211; which is used for short-range, high bandwidth communications.
    &quot;It could even be a combination of RFID and Bluetooth. It depends on the solution providers offer and what the health board decides its requirements are. It depends on pricing as well.&quot;
    Construction of the Lakeview extension is due to finish in the middle of 2011.
    Last year Hawke's Bay Hospital canned a trial that would have had patients tagged with RFID chips to track their movements. The board planned to use the electronic tags, monitored by wireless scanners, to identify bottlenecks in the hospital system and help it better manage beds and roster staff.
    But spokeswoman Anna Kirk said plans for the trial were abandoned after the board decided it would not reveal any new information. &quot;We would be following the patient's movements from A to B to C, but we already knew what that was.&quot;

  • Apple iPhone 4G patent surfaces?

    Three new Apple patents applications unearthed this week suggest a range of new features that may be included in the next generation iPhone.

  • Mesh wi-fi plus RFID gives traceability a boost

    Call it the proverbial canary in the coal mine or a leading indicator, but what wi-fi chip designer AeroScout announced recently in cooperation with the US Air Force points to our future.
    It does so because, as wi-fi becomes ubiquitous and combines further with mesh networks, RFID and GPS, we are sure to witness dramatic changes in our society.
    And I'm not sure it will all be to the good.
    Using currently available GPS chips, wi-fi, and high-gain antennas, AeroScout will give the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG) the ability to locate any aircraft and any aircraft part left anywhere within the confines of its 110-million-square-foot desert facility, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, in Arizona.
    When complete, AeroScout's technology will do this with GPS chips attached to thousands of pieces of equipment. Yet, thanks to the high-gain antennas, the system only requires 42 wi-fi access points.
    Besides broadcasting the position of equipment to AMARG's wi-fi network, the battery-operated GPS systems include motion sensors and on-board thermometers within the chip design to enable AMARG managers to track the location, condition, and status of parts from a single network.
    Add the increasing value proposition of mesh, and you just might see where this technology is heading.
    What makes the mesh-network specification particularly unique is its bucket-brigade architecture, which passes data from node to node until it lands at its end point.
    The significance of mesh is the lower cost of deploying a wireless network outdoors. Mesh does not require each access point to be hardwired to an Ethernet connection. In addition to cost savings, the time to lay out such a wireless network is also greatly reduced.
    Once the price and ease-of-use of mesh comes down, the availability of the technology will increase a hundred-fold. We will surely witness more and more uses for this integration of technologies.
    Cisco already has wireless access points, each with two radios. The wi-fi radio handles access, and the second radio is dedicated to wireless interconnectivity, or the meshing across wireless and wired access points.
    Along with this hardware, Cisco also deploys AWPP (Adaptive Wireless Path Protocol), essentially its algorithm for selecting the best data path among the many access points laid out in a coverage area.
    Combined with RFID, increasingly expansive mesh networks will describe a future in which nothing &#8212; or everything &#8212; is lost.
    Already miniaturised to the size of a grain of rice, RFID chips will communicate over mesh networks, hopping from wi-fi-enabled device to wi-fi-enabled device until the end point. Every product will soon come with an embedded GPS or RFID chip so well hidden that a thief will never suspect it is there.
    In 20 years, maybe less, it will be extremely difficult to steal anything. What's the sense of robbing a house and taking the flat-panel TV if you would have to take it apart to find and disable the locator chip?
    In fact, the embedded chips in stolen goods would use the thieves' own wi-fi-enabled devices to hop across the network to reveal the location of the stash.
    I'll take it one step further: How can you kidnap someone if they have a chip embedded somewhere under their skin? Chips are easily implanted under the skin by the equivalent of an inoculation.
    Remember, an elite unit of the Attorney General's office in Mexico City had verification chips embedded in the upper arms of 160 officers as a means of securing access to its anti-crime datacentre.
    And, according to a report published in the Washington Post, about 1,000 patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease have been implanted with an RFID chip.
    It goes without saying that everything from losing your glasses or your passport and your wallet will be a thing of the past.
    My guess is that the only thing that will disappear is cold, hard cash. If every person is tagged, it will be quite convenient for the cost of whatever you buy to be taken out of your bank account or charged to your credit card automatically because your chip will identify you as a unique individual.
    We will live in a world where everything and everyone is accounted for. Product lifecycle management will have to move over and make room for people lifecycle management, tracked from birth to death with our location known at every moment.
    The question is: Known by whom?
    Tom Yager returns soon

  • Tru-Test wins breakthrough RFID sales

    Auckland-based agricultural technology specialist Tru-Test has made the first sale of its RFID-enabled electronic milk metering technology and is ready to deploy its Pinnacle animal weighing and management software.

  • Open internet a model for RFID expansion

    Let's talk about RFID. But first, let's imagine the internet as it might be. Suppose every ISP required its users to buy only its own brand of modem. And to use only its own proprietary web browser. And to connect only to websites certified by the ISP to work with that modem and browser.

  • RFID keeps tabs on Vegas bartenders

    RFID technology is on its way to ubiquity in hotels and casinos, helping to bring new levels of personalised services. But the tiny tracking chips are threatening some longstanding practices as well - such as the tradition that a generous tip by a patron is apt to lead to a generous drink from a bartender.

  • Law Commission questions RFID 'privacy'

    The Law Commission is concerned about the use RFID customer information could be put to, as it is unclear whether the data in radio-frequency identification tags on bought goods constitutes &#8220;personal information&#8221; as defined under the Privacy Act.

  • Global RFID market tipped to grow

    Gartner predicts that worldwide radio frequency identification (RFID) revenue will eclipse US$1.2 billion (NZ$1.48 billion) this year, marking nearly a 31% increase over last year.