RF ID (radio frequency identification)

What is Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)? A basic RFID system consists of three components: An antenna or coil A transceiver (with decoder) A transponder (commonly called an RF tag) that is electronically programmed with unique information The antenna emits radio signals to activate the tag and read and write data to it. Antennas are the conduits between the tag and the transceiver, which controls the system’s data acquisition and communication. Antennas are available in a variety of shapes and sizes; they can be built into a door frame to receive tag data from persons or things passing through the door, or mounted on an interstate toll booth to monitor traffic passing by, on a freeway. The electromagnetic field produced by an antenna can be constantly present when multiple tags are expected continually. If constant interrogation is not required, the field can be activated by a sensor device. Often the antenna is packaged with the transceiver and decoder to become a reader(a.k.a. interrogator), which can be configured either as a handheld or a fixed-mount device. The reader emits radio waves in ranges of anywhere from one inch to 100 feet or more, depending upon its power output and the radio frequency used. When an RFID tag passes through the electromagnetic zone, it detects the reader’s activation signal. The reader decodes the data encoded in the tag’s integrated circuit (silicon chip) and the data is passed to the host computer for processing. RFID tags come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Animal tracking tags, inserted beneath the skin, can be as small as a pencil lead in diameter and one-half inch in length. Tags can be screw-shaped to identify trees or wooden items, or credit-card shaped for use in access applications. The anti-theft hard plastic tags attached to merchandise in stores are RFID tags. In addition, heavy-duty 5-by 4- by 2-inch rectangular transponders used to track inter modal containers or heavy machinery, trucks, and railroad cars for maintenance and tracking applications are RFID tags. Other uses include moving people or objects tracking in warehouses. Public safety sector can use these devices for visitor tracking in a facility through RFID badges