What is RFID (Radio Frequency Identification)?
RFID technology is a technology that enables living and non-living things to be identified by radio waves through the tags on them and carries out data transmission wirelessly. However, it is not a single and simple technology. RFID technology consists of tags, readers, computer networks, database and special software.
History of RFID
Although RFID is known as a new technology, it is actually an older technology than barcode systems. RFID was first mentioned in 1948. The first examples, which appeared in 1950, remained on a theoretical basis. Then, in the 1960s, the first real example was produced. This example is the Anti-Theft in Commerce system created with Electronic Article Surveillance technology. This system, which was studied academically in the 1970s, was also used to label animals at the same time. In the 1980s, it was used on toll roads (highways, etc.) to be used in daily life.
RFID and Barcode Systems
What RFID and barcode systems do is basically the same. Both technologies are used to describe the product. If RFID and barcode are compared, the barcode system must see the product in order to recognize it, that is, it must be at a close distance from the reader. In order to read the tag in RFID, the reader does not need to see the tag and the tag can be read from meters away. As another factor, in the barcode system, one product can be read at the same time, while in RFID, hundreds of products can be read at the same time. In addition, while the barcode system contains the same and limited information in the product group in the same item, in RFID, each product has a different number and can contain more detailed information.
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How Does the RFID System Work?
RFID belongs to a group of technologies called Automatic Identification and Data Capture (AIDC). AIDC methods automatically identify objects, collect data about them, and enter this data directly into computer systems without any intervention. RFID methods use radio waves to accomplish this. On a simple level, RFID systems consist of three components: an RFID tag or smart tag, an RFID reader, and an antenna. RFID tags contain an integrated circuit and an antenna used to transmit data to the RFID reader (also called interrogator). The reader then converts the radio waves into a much more useful data format. The information collected from the tags is then transferred via a communication interface to a host system, which can be stored in the data computer and then analyzed.
RFID System Components
RFID is an automatic recognition system consisting of a reader and a tag. Inside the label is a microchip and an antenna surrounding the microchip. Communication is established between the reader and the tag by means of electromagnetic waves. Electromagnetic waves emitted by the reader meet the microchip as an energy and activate it, and data is transferred from the tag to the reader. In RFID systems, tag and reader communication takes place at a certain distance, without any contact and wirelessly. An RFID reader can communicate with more than one tag at the same time via radio waves.
RFID Usage Areas
RFID usage areas are limited by people’s imagination. The most common applications are; collection systems (such as invoicing), airport security and baggage automation, access control systems in the field of logistics, production tracking, identification of patients in hospitals and identification wristbands for newborn children, parking automation and asset tracking. Recently, companies use RFID mostly in processes such as tracking their supply chains.
RFID Tag Types
It is possible to examine RFID tags in two groups as active and passive. Although there is a support unit that feeds active tags, this is not the case for passive tags. Passive tags get their energy from the readers they come within range of, and generate a part of the signal coming from the passive tag reader by electromagnetic induction with its circularly coiled antenna.