Sunday, December 11, 2005

...I'll never lose my car keys

In the near future, all of the things we buy will contain an RFID tag (Radio Frequency Identification). These are tiny little devices that transmit a radio signal capable of traveling a short distance. Like a barcode, an RFID tag identifies a product. Stores will use them at checkout lines instead of scanning a UPC symbol. Unlike barcodes, it doesn't just identify the type of object (30GB iPod Video $299). It identifies the exact object (30GB iPod Video serial number 92384776 $299). This should also make them useful for inventory and anti-theft purposes. It also could have some negative impact on personal privacy but that's another topic of conversation.

So, once this technology hits the shelves, why can't I have my own personal RFID scanner that I can use to locate things around my house? When I buy something that I might accidentally lose, I scan it with my little RFID scanner and it adds it to an internal database. When I need to locate that something, I tell my scanner what I need to locate and walk around the house until it beeps or otherwise signals that I'm close.

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