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What are RFID tags and what are they used for?

RFID tags are a fundamental component of any internal traceability system. They use radio frequency to transmit the information contained in them to a reader to identify an asset.

RFID tags use radio frequency technology for tracking and tracing.

Through radiofrequency, tags transmit data from the tag to the reader, which receives the information and is used for convenience.

RFID tags have a multitude of uses, such as tracking or identifying vehicles, stock, pets and even patients. They are built with an antenna, a radio transducer and an encapsulated material or chip.

RFID tags are placed on objects and, unless they are active RFID tags, wait for the reader to read or interrogate them. They usually have one or more memory banks to store diverse information and unique identifiers.

HOW DO RFID TAGS "COMMUNICATE"?

There are two ways of communication or “coupling” used in RFID systems; inductive coupling and capacitive coupling.

Inductive coupling: Inductive coupling is the mode of operation at the HF frequency and consists of the emission of a magnetic field by the reader. When a tag enters the field, the chip will vary the response of its antennas, resulting in a disturbance of the magnetic field that can be detected by the reader. The strength of a magnetic field decreases sharply with distance from the emitter, so inductive systems are intrinsically short-range.


Capacitive coupling: Capacitive coupling is the mode of operation in the UHF frequency range. The combination of reader and antenna emits an electromagnetic propagation wave in search of an RFID tag in the vicinity. If these waves reach an RFID tag, the energy is harnessed by the tag antenna and forms a current that travels to the center of the tag and energizes the integrated circuit (IC). The IC stores the information in a non-volatile memory that is capable of feeding off the energy that comes from an electromagnetic wave. It modulates the energy with data from its memory banks and directs the modulated signal out through its own antenna. This remaining modulated energy that is returned by the tag and “responds” to the RFID reader or antenna is the “backscatter”, more commonly known as “backscatter.

HOW USEFUL ARE RFID TAGS?

RFID tags have different uses, but they are mainly used for the traceability of inventory, goods, vehicles, pets and even control of patients in hospitals and residences.

You may have come across an RFID tag more than once without knowing it was one. Here you have some clear examples:

  • Anti-loss wristbands for children and patients,
  • luggage tracking at airports,
  • electronic toll systems,
  • anti-theft systems in stores,
  • Amazon GO self-service shops,
  • timing wristbands in sporting events,
  • attendee tracking,
  • access control,
  • traceability of tools,
  • automatic kiosks
  • automatic library systems
  • laundry management.

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Radio frequency identification is a technology that allows us to identify almost any object wirelessly using data transmitted through radio waves. It knows the components that make up an RFID system.

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