10 September 2014

RFID 2nd generation (in operation)

While preparing for Winter storage my sea/beach/snorkeling equipment, incidentally I came across a new form of product tracking. I had to remove the insole (sock liner?) from an aqua shoe because some sand had gone underneath and found ... an RFID tag!

Since the design was different from those I had already seen operating on MF or HF, a web search was due. Then I found out about RFID Gen 2 related to a form of Electronic Product Code, an electronic version of the good old barcode.

These things shown in the picture work at around 900 MHz (in Europe), have a larger range than previous RFID technologies and allow multiple items to be read at once. It is supposed to facilitate the management of shop stocks and inherently includes anti-theft since it is probably just a flag in a complex tag.

A visit to the sports supermarket has shown this new technology in action, with many false alarms at the exit anti-theft gate, including my purchase. Just wondering how much RF power the reader/writer throws out.

Reader/writer hardware for these objects still costs 150-200 USD, so it is not yet time for hardware hackers on a budget to kick in. In any case I am keeping these tags for you-never-know...