Monday, February 06, 2006

Philips Makes Plastic RFID Tags

The RFID space is one I watch closely. There will numerous applications and businesses that get created from this emerging technology. Think of an RFID tag as a barcode on steroids.

This story from EE Times highlights the advances chip companies are making. One of the biggest obstacles for this industry is cost per tag.

Scientists at Philips Research have created a fully functional 13.56-MHz radio frequency identification (RFID) tag based entirely on plastic electronics.

In contrast to conventional silicon-chip-based RFID tags, a plastic electronics RFID chip can be printed directly onto a plastic substrate along with an antenna without involving complex assembly steps, Philips Research said in a statement.

Plastic-electronics-based RFID tags have the potential to be manufactured via reel-to-reel and other in-line processing techniques, which should be considerably less cost than silicon processing.

Do you know what would bring these costs down even further? There are other interesting developments, and companies in this space, that get me pondering.


Anonymous said...


The comment that I found most interesting from the article:

"Philips Research scientists have developed a 64-bit code generator, showing the practicality of building plastic electronic circuits with the complexity required for item-level tagging."

Adoption of item-level tagging would be a real flattener (using the words of Thomas L. Friedman from the "World is Flat", and, by the way, was a great read - thanks) and have huge ramifications - quickly. Think of what Walmart would do with that. Forget the long checkout lines. Your total would be known before you 're done shopping.

And, as soon as item-level tagging becomes the norm, counterfieting will become even harder. I would think the U.S goverment would be real interseted in RFID technology when it comes to money. What if every $5, $10, $20, and $100 bill could have an RFID tag embedded in the money that can be verified with a central database from anywhere in the world? Passing counterfeit money would be really hard.

And, on the consumer side, when mobile phones have RFID readers and item-level tagging becomes the norm, the PWC is waiting to be connected to the appropriate URL.


Scott Shaffer said...

Fascinating stuff isn't it?

The physical world connection has many other applications that don't involve a mobile phone.

Stay tuned, I will be posting applications and companies that are non-mobile related in this exciting space.