Monday, May 01, 2006

A Better RFID Tag?

A bar code could be put on these.

From IndyStar Success comes down to the wire

James E. O'Keefe a technology consultant making metal alloys whose molecules are arranged as randomly as those in liquids or glass.

He came across a glass-coated, hair-thin form of the invention. The more he looked at the technology, the more convinced he became that such microwires could be cheap to make and could serve as powerful signaling devices.

O'Keefe has been showing a prototype to retailers like Saks Fifth Avenue. He says his start-up company, Demodulation, could provide security tags at half the cost of the metal tags used in systems sold by companies like Sensormatic, a division of Tyco International that is the leader in retail article tracking.

The tags could be scanned from distances up to 20 feet and would be harder for thieves to fool than most current systems. Such an unobtrusive system would be welcomed in stores focused on designer clothing.

Research suggests that the magnetic regions in the snippets of wire could be manipulated to store digital information and tiny bar codes could be applied to the glass coating.

Such versions of the microwires could become a much cheaper alternative to the radio identification tags currently being developed to help Wal-Mart Stores and other retailers track goods flowing into and through their vast supply chains. Unlike most radio tags, the microwire signals are not disrupted by metal foil or liquid.

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