The New Functions of RFID Technology

FID uses radio waves to automatically identify or track personnel and materials. It has replaced the bar code in many applications where the bar-code-required line of sight is unavailable.

Another university on the cutting edge of this technology is the Georgia Institute of Technology. The Food Processing Technology Division of the Georgia Tech Research Institute, headed by J. Craig Wyvill, is currently looking into the performance limitations of current RFID technology on food products, particularly where the product has a high water content or where individual items are tagged and then placed in a box that has another tag. Metal and water can both interfere with RF signals.

There is also a potential problem with reader confusion from partially read interior tags. When multiple tags are in the same proximity, "tag collision" can occur. The solution has been to program the readers to read at different times, even to the level of milliseconds. The advancement of RFID technology has opened up new avenues to help protect us on a private and a national scale.

Robert F. Lang is the director of homeland security at Georgia Tech University. Mr. Lang's more than 30 years in security have taken him from the FBI to the Lockheed Corporation, where he was the plant protection manager prior to joining Georgia Tech.