Researchers at the University of Cambridge have developed a new system which greatly improves the accuracy and range of RFID systems that are used in everything from passports to luggage tracking.
The new system improves the accuracy of passive RFID tag detection from roughly 50% to 100%, and increases the reliable detection range from 2-3m to approximately 20m. It can be widely used in many monitoring applications, including support for the sick and elderly, real-time environmental monitoring in areas prone to natural disasters, or playing for goods without the need for conventional checkouts.
RFID helps in many aspects. It uses radio waves to identify an object in the form of a serial number. The technology is used for applications such as baggage handling in airports, access badges, inventory control and document tracking.
RFID systems are comprised of a reader and a tag. Unlike conventional barcodes, the reader does not need to be in line of sight with the tag in order to detect it, which means that tags can be embedded inside an object, and that many tags can be detected at once. Besides, passive tags require no internal energy source or maintenance, as they get their power from the radio waves interrogating them.
The new system is being commercialized by the Cambridge team. This will allow organizations to inexpensively and effectively monitor RFID tagged items over large areas.