Usos futuristas de RFID

Cool, Surprising and just Plain Scary: 51 Futuristic Uses for RFID


Wal-Mart swears by it, CASPIAN thinks it’s the devil in disguise, the government hopes to profit from it, and the common man is confused by all the hype surrounding it – love it or hate it, there’s no turning back the clock on RFID folks, this is one technology that’s here to stay and go places. It’s being used in numerous applications, from tracking items along the supply chain to monitoring the whereabouts of kids and the elderly. It’s been kicking up a storm of privacy issues, and the FDA approval for VeriChip to implant human beings in the name of medical advances hasn’t done anything to settle the dust.

Even as the controversies rage on about the lack of unifying frequency standards, the high cost of supporting infrastructure and the perceived threat to individual privacy, RFID is making rapid inroads into each of our lives, visibly or stealthily. Stealing a march on the technology, we look a few years ahead, and unveil for you a list of 51 applications, some of which are in pilot phases, a few that are just brilliant ideas, and others that are actually in the RFID pipeline.

Are they cool? No, they’re piping hot!

Driving into the future…

1. The Road Beacon System: A system where the tags are embedded on roads or along the pavement with readers being fitted on the bodies of automobiles. Drivers will be provided with speed limit and position information besides being warned of possible accidents. Word on the street is that this technology will cause a significant drain in the government exchequer, so this is one application that will take time to gain popularity.
2. Electronic car security: Thieves will think twice about breaking into your car with this application in which car keys are connected wirelessly to the onboard management device that controls all aspects of the engine. On an unauthenticated entry, the complete system shuts down. Afraid the crooks will get hold of your keys? Then imitate this couple  – they got themselves implanted with RFID tags that act as keys to their cars, houses and computers. Sensor
3. Tracking car assemblies:
Alien Technologies is working on a solution that uses RFID to track the work-in-progress during an automobile manufacture cycle. A tag is first affixed on a car’s chassis, and as the part traverses the assembly line, new information is added to the tag so that it displays a sub-assembly or a finished product.

Adding the spice of freshness to meat…

4. Tracking the food chain: Health-conscious non-vegetarians will appreciate this one – RFID tags are already being used in certain parts of the world to bring about a transparency in the food supply chain. The threats posed by mad-cow disease and bird flu have brought about drastic changes in the way meat is handled, from the time it is grown in farms and fished in seas, till the time it ends up on your dining table. In the near future, tags will be used as a matter of course to verify that produce is fresh, that it hasn’t been subject to unusual heat or cold, and to get rid of items that are prone to spoilage.

Leading the blind…

5. RFID-assisted indoor navigation: Vladimir Kulyukin, assistant professor in the department of computer science at the Utah State University has ambitious plans to help the blind navigate the aisles of supermarkets and department stores – an RFID-enabled robot mounted on the shopping cart. The device will, at the push of a button, steer the person behind the cart to different parts of the store.
6. Floors that guide the disabled:
This innovation is all set to stage an appearance at the University of Florida, courtesy, a doctoral student who’s using RFID grids in carpets, hallway baseboards, and outdoor walkways to help blind and other disabled students navigate around campus.Tag

Posting profits with RFID…

7. Replacement for the postage stamp: The humble postage stamp is all set to get a facelift; it will contain a transponder that postal officials can use to rout it to its destination and cancel after it’s been used.

Catching kleptomaniacs red-handed…

8. Item-level tagging: Tags on every item in every store. With numerous advances being made in item-level tagging, this scenario is almost around the corner. While privacy advocates would have a field day detailing the “big brother is watching you” options, this application also holds a number of benefits. Stores can automate self-checkout and payment and also cut back considerably on shrinkage. For the consumer, payment can be made with RFID-enabled cards that deduct the amount on the tags, and returns and refunds can be effected without scrambling to find that lost or scrunched up receipt. And for the privacy aficionados, the “kill” and “clip” options on the tag should silence them for a while.

No peeking, keep out, PRIVATE…

Private 9. Computer access through remote controls: It’s not that you’re working on something top secret, it’s just that you value your privacy. So how do you keep snoops away from the information on your computer screen the moment you get up, just to get those kinks out of your back or to answer the call of nature? Of course, that’s where software locks and passwords come in, but an easier way would be to hide an RFID transponder on your being. Voila! Your system locks up as soon as you leave your workspace, and opens only when you take your seat.

Life doesn’t stop because you grow old…

10. Digital Family Portrait:
Worried about the well-being of your parents and loved ones who live far away? Then the digital family portrait is just the thing for you. Similar to an ordinary photograph, the application holds an image that is updated everyday with the help of RFID or other technologies to reflect on the state of well-being of the subject.
11. Monitoring geriatrics: Can the number of cups of tea/coffee you make everyday reveal anything about your general health? According to Richard Curry, visiting industrial associate at Imperial College, they can. The expert, in his address at the RFID Futures Conference held last month, outlined how RFID could be used to collect and analyze such seemingly insignificant information to find out how old people who live alone are coping on a day to day basis.
12. Smart medicine cabinet: Aging comes with its share of memory loss, and RFID-enabled medicine cabinets can be a godsend for those who depend on medication for their lives. Reminding users to take their medicine, checking if they’ve completed a course, warning them against combining certain drugs, and even ordering refills from the doctor’s office are just a few possibilities that could be turn out to become real features.
13. Wander-proof bands: RFID-enabled wristbands could prevent those affected by Alzheimer’s disease from wandering off beyond certain boundaries. VeriChip has such a system already in place. The technology can also be used to make sure you don’t lose your kids in the crowds in an amusement park. Legoland is already offering parents tags for their children along with their admission tickets.

Stop those medical mix-ups…

14. SurgiChip: Chips that will prevent doctors from performing the wrong surgery on you; they’re being developed right now by SurgiChip Inc. in Florida, affixed to your arm, and scanned several times before the operation. Unless you’re unconscious, you have to confirm that the information is correct.Test
15. Administering medicine levels: The wrong drugs or even the wrong dosage could kill you. This is where RFID is stepping in at the Klinikum Saarbrücken Hospital in Germany to check if patients are getting the right medication in the right amount at the right time. The tag also ensures that the right blood is administered to the right patient.
16. Monitoring critically ill patients: With RFID tags affixed to patients in a hospital, heart rates are measured and sent to an RFID clock which sends the data to the concerned doctors. Antennas around the hospital help locate the patients to within two meters of their actual locations, thus enabling quick treatment if they start becoming seriously ill.
17. Quarantining in hospitals: Patients with contagious diseases can be prevented from wandering out of their quarantine zones with tags and appropriate readers.

Strengthening the supply chain links…

18. Improving Logistics and Communication:
Columnist Michael Fitzgerald sums up the RFID effect, as he calls it, in the supply chain industry, with these words, “Someday in the not-so-distant future, when you buy a box of Kleenex at the local pharmacy, it will trigger a chain reaction of events that will result, ultimately, in a tree being harvested in Canada.” Web-based RFID is becoming more tangible by the day; the physical flow of goods and the related flow of information in IT systems are allowing supply chain partners to share logistics information in real-time, thus leading to better planning and inventory control.

Around the Future Store in Rheinberg… “a preview of the global retail experience, circa 2013″

Future1 19. Personal Shopping Assistants:
The Future Store in Rheinberg, Germany, is bursting at the seams with RFID technology. Can’t find what you want on the shelf near you? Just type it into your shopping trolley’s screen, and you’re presented with a complete floor map and directions to where your product is stocked. Any shopping list you type out online is immediately downloaded to your PSA, when activated with your loyalty card.
20. Cart-top computing: Your cart will suggest purchases based on your previous buying behavior. It will also lead you to the shelves that hold these products.
21. Smart shelves: Shelves that can actually “think” – they warn of products past expiry dates and alert personnel to replenish them when they run short.
22. Dynamic Pricing: Wireless electronic price buttons can be updated at the push of a single button to update prices every night as they change in the real world.
Future2 23. Self-scan checkout carts: Shopping trolleys hold an integrated scanner that add up your total as you shop, and as you cross the checkout line, deduct the amount from your RFID-enabled credit card. Similar technology is also on trial at Caen in France; the only difference is that the mobile phone is used to pay for goods and to open cars.

We care about our environment…

24. Studying genetically-modified trees: RFID and trees? Do you see the connection? Apparently a few graduate students at the University of Washington can; they’re using the technology to study genetically modified trees by embedding chips in the trees, and then monitoring them throughout their lives to improve conservation techniques.

And about our natural resources too…

25. Preventing water wastage: AquaOne Technologies is marketing an RFID-enabled device that uses a chip attached to a toilet to shut off the water when there’s a leak or an overflow.

Packing tips and chips…

26. Tracking plastic containers: Another environment-friendly application on the anvil from Alien Technologies – RFID-tagged reusable plastic containers, pallets or shipping containers that can be tracked at distribution centers that perform pick-and-pack operations.

Surprises galore! What RFID holds in store!

Your home gets smart, your brains take a back seat…

27. Robots that organize clutter: This one was heard from Kevin Ashton, he of the Auto-ID Center and the RFID standards. A pickup robot that first learns where things are stored in your home, then fetches things that are out of place, and finally restores them to their rightful places. In other words, “mom” to any messy teenager? And yeah, this technology depends on every item in your house being RFID-tagged.
28. Smart washing machines: No more scenarios where you end up turning your whites into multi-colors. Based on the premise that your clothes are all tagged with RFID chips, your washing machine will read them for appropriate wash instructions, set the temperature, wash cycles, and even alert you when washing mix-ups are about to happen. Phone_1
29. Intelligent refrigerators: From alerting you to spoilage of food, to even ordering your food from a supermarket, RFID scientists have grand plans for the once-simple icebox. An intelligent refrigerator will be able to suggest recipes based on its contents, browse the Internet for the cheapest shopping locations, and place your order.
30. Fashionable closets: Imagine taking fashion advice from your closet; that’s a very real aspect of the future of RFID. Your wardrobe can also tell you what clothes it contains, what’s gone to the cleaners, what’s in the washtub, and with help from the Internet, the latest fashions in vogue.
31. Clever microwaves: Tags on any uncooked food item will be read to enable automatic temperature and time settings.
32. Gate devices: Ever left the house and remembered after an hour that you forgot your wallet or mobile phone? Well, gate devices placed over entrances and exits to your house can check your person or bags to see if you are carrying all the things that you normally do when you leave the house.
Cap 33. Thinking objects: We’ve heard of thinking caps, but this invention gives a whole new twist to the phrase. Engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have come up with computerized fabric patches that can be worn as a belt one day, a handbag the next, and a scarf on the third. These can be programmed with RFID to make sure you don’t forget your essentials when you leave the house; they can also be hooked up to the Internet via Bluetooth devices – so don’t be surprised if your scarf tells you after scanning the day’s weather forecast that it’s likely to rain, so you’d better carry an umbrella or stay indoors.

Talk to me, teach me stuff

34. Application of cosmetics: Nervous about that first date, and it shows by those trembling fingers that just won’t get your makeup right? RFID-tagged lipstick tubes and compact cases that trigger displays on your mobile phone so that you can learn how to apply makeup perfectly…
35. Cooking recipes: Dinner party for 10? Tags on cookbooks that automatically show an experienced chef preparing the same recipe on a screen in your kitchen…
36. Baby care: A boon for first-time moms – RFID-enabled baby changing tables and cribs that show you how to take care of newborns and toddlers…
Chip_1 37. Memory mirror:
Assuming that most objects in your home are tagged with RFID chips, the mirror senses when they have moved, and places digital photos on the mirror showing where they were in the past 24 hours. A great gadget for those with short-term amnesia, in the pipeline at Georgia Tech.
38. Memory jogger: Another mnemonic – especially handy for those who forget when their credit card bills, library books and other payments are due. You can also set your mobile phone to alert you when you’ve lent a book or CD to a friend.

Searching high and low on the green…

39. Finding golf balls:
Innovative transponders and radar corner reflectors in golf balls can save your precious golfing time. Lost balls are detected by the reflection of the radiation search beam over a short distance.

Hey, that’s my style…

40. Personalized shopping: With an RFID tag that stores data on your likes and dislikes, you can walk into a store and set alight LEDs that show where your favorites are, in the size that fits you and the colors you prefer.

Chaos theory anyone???

Books 41. Location-relaxed storage: The brainchild of Stephen Ho, a Ph. D from MIT, this is one idea that sounds preposterous. Ho claims to be able to prove mathematically that it’s faster to find items stored in random order or in a chaos, provided they are tagged with RFID chips.

Garbage in, recyclables out…

42. Sorting garbage: Garbage facilities that don’t require you to sort your rubbish – the trucks pick up your refuse, dump it on conveyor belts at the garbage facility, and a reader automatically picks up the information on the tagged items to redirect them to suitable recycling bins.

Traveling light…

43. Travel applications: Vacations just got that much easier with this future concept from Philips and Visa. Travelers can book and pay for plane tickets and hotel rooms using their computers, and an RFID-enabled mouse and credit card. The card holds information related to tickets, airlines and hotels. The key to your hotel room can also be transferred to your mobile phone for the duration of your stay, as can your hotel receipt. Back home, you can transfer the ticket to your computer, and your accounts are updated.

Playing with balls…

44. Chips in soccer balls:
Remember those ugly brawls that broke out on the soccer field over the ball crossing or not crossing the goal line? FIFA, Adidas-Solomon AG, the Fraunhofer Institute, and software company Cairos Technologies have developed an RFID-embedded soccer ball to put an effective end to these skirmishes. Still under testing for that perfect goal.Balls
45. Tagged soccer players:
Managers who like to orchestrate the way players move and tackle will love this one. Alex Ferguson of Manchester United is considering tagging his soccer team so that their movements during matches and training can be studied.

Consumer is king

46. Sharing consumer views: Remember browsing through online stores and reading user reviews of various products? Well, if these products are tagged, the reviews will be delivered directly to your mobile phone. And it doesn’t stop there. You can also get product-related information, technical tips, and interesting usage details – all from fellow users.
47. Sharing information: Blank RFID chips are being touted as the next sharing device – store information on writable chips and share it with friends and family.

Plain scary – Got any skeletons in the closet?Crossbones

Put those sleazy detective agencies out of work…

48. Tagging spouses: I know it sounds straight out of a B-grade novel, but this just may be possible, according to Dr. Avi Rubin of the Johns Hopkins University. If you manage to tag your supposedly adulterous spouse surreptitiously, you can monitor her/his movements and confirm or dismiss your suspicions.

License to track and trail…

49. RFID number plates:
Developed by e-plate, this technology may possibly be adopted by the UK government for its study of micro-chipped license plates. Powerful RFID tags that can “reliably identify any vehicle, anywhere, whether stationary or mobile, and – most importantly – in all weather conditions” are raising privacy hackles all over the world. The plates are permanently fixed, and will probably be used to prevent toll fraud.

Currency troubles…

50. Chips in Euro notes: The announcement in 2003 that euro notes would be tagged with RFID chips according to a deal between the European Central Bank (ECB) and Hitachi in a bid to prevent counterfeiting raised more than an eyebrow or two. The proposal obviously didn’t go through, but if applied in the future, could be used to “follow the money in any transaction. The anonymity that cash affords in consumer transactions would be eliminated.”

Elephantine memory…

Implant 51. Tags that never forget your past:
An RFID tag that is embedded in your skin or in any article of your clothing can be used to store and remember forever every small misdemeanor. According to the Technology Horizons series of memos on the Public Concerns and the Near Future of RFID, “individuals will lose the ability to grow beyond their own pasts.”

There’s no denying the positive potential of RFID as a nascent technology. Bill Allen, Director of Texas Instrument’s (TI) strategic alliances, and erstwhile marketing communications manager, RFID Systems, TI, said of RFID, “Until the Wal Mart announcement, RFID had been pushing a snowball up the hill….Now Wal-Mart has it at the top of the hill, and it will be rolling downhill and gaining momentum from now on.” Attention must be paid so that the snowball does not cause an avalanche of problems for the world at large.


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