RFID getting closer… and smaller

RFID chips will soon be in everything you own. It is the new standard to replace the large and unwieldy UPC bar codes on products. For example, a box of cereal will have this tiny chip embedded in its packaging. When you pass through the checkout, the reader at the checkout will power the chip, and it will transmit it’s identification code.

Crude versions of this have been around for years, in those tags attached to clothing, or flaps inserted in books. Older versions simply transmitted their existence to security gates. The newer ones each have a serial number, which can identify, not only what the object is, but an item number to uniquely identify the item for inventory tracking.

They’ve also gotten ridiculously small. Hitachi has developed an RFID chip that is only 0.4mm x 0.4mm! That’s about as small as a few grains of sand (check the link for a picture)!

It probably won’t be long before we can simply take our groceries, and wheel the entire cart through a gate. The gate will take an inventory of your cart and you be presented with a total amount due, swipe your debit card, and off you go!


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