RFID (radio-frequency identification) is an automatic identification and localization of objects and living beings, which considerably facilitates the collection of data.
An RFID system consists of a transponder located on or in the object or living organisms, and includes an identifying code and a reader for reading this code.
RFID transponders can be as small as a grain of rice and can be implanted in people or pets. In addition, there is the possibility to produce the RFID transponder from polymers through a special printing process. The advantages of this technique arise from the combination of small size, the low-profile identification opportunity (e.g., the newly introduced identity card) and the low price of the transponder (a few cents). This new technique can replace the still widespread barcode.
The first RFID applications have been used at the end of the Second World War. There were secondary radars, which were used for friend and foe identification. In the planes and tanks transponder and reader units were installed to detect whether to attack the approaching aircraft or not. To date, follow-up systems are used in the armies. Harry Stockman is considered the person who laid the foundations of RFID with his publication Communication by Means of Reflected Power in October 1948.
At the end of the 1960s, the Siemens Car Identification, in short SICARID, which was considered a proprietary of many solutions, was developed. This made possible to begin to identify railroad cars and auto parts later in the unique paint shop. It was used up to the 1980s. The identification carrier were cavity resonators that were interrogated by a linear frequency ramp. These cavities can be considered as the first purely passive and electromagnetic queryable transponder. The first passive backscatter transponder of the type still used today with its own digital logic circuit was introduced in 1975 in an IEEE paper.
In the 1970s, the first primitive commercial predecessor of RFID technology was put on the market. These were produced for the electronic security systems (Electronic Article Surveillance, EAS). By checking the presence of the mark, an alarm can be triggered in case of theft. The systems was based on radio frequency technology or low-medium frequency induction or transfer.
The year 1979 brought many new developments and applications for RFID technology. An emphasis was placed on agricultural applications, such as animal identification, e.g., for racing pigeons, livestock, and other pets.
The application of RFID technology was funded since the 1980s, particularly by the decision of several American states as well as Norway, where the RFID transponders found their place in the road toll systems. In the 1990s, the RFID technology was widely used for toll systems in the United States.
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