Crazy, Smart Ways of Using RFID

Posted by on Jul 15, 2016 6:56:29 PM

It seems every week there is a brand new way of using RFID. Across industries, businesses are adopting RFID technology to their needs, and some of these adaptations are just smart, while others are mind boggling. These industry spanning adoptions showcase the versatility of RFID technology. If there is a problem in your business there very well may be an RFID based way to solve it. 

Take a look at the latest crazy, smart ways of using RFID. We're not sure if we could think of anything more unique that number one. 

1. Tagging NYC Rats with RFID to Study Behavior 

For the first time in history, scientists are able to study the behavior of the most elusive creators: rats. These rodents are not just important for science experiments but require monitoring for the potential spread of disease. RFID presents scientists with a cheap, easy and safe way to tag NYC dwelling rodents resulting in a wealth of data on the sewer dwelling species. 

"We don't know much about the behavior of city rats, or as much as we need to know about the organisms they can transfer to humans, either directly or indirectly through ticks and fleas," says Michael H. Parsons, a researcher at the Department of Biology at Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York, and lead author of the new study.

Although seemingly irrelevant, rodent monitoring can have a major impact on the US economy and quality of life. 75% of the world's population will live in urban areas by the year 2050 exposing them to rat pathogens. Currently, rats and similar pests cost the US economy $19 billion per year from infrastructure damage, food loss, and disease. 

So it seems instead of asking why in the world are we monitoring rats with RFID, we should be asking why didn't we start doing this sooner?

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2. C2Sense Gives Computers the Sense of Smell

Computer vision is a hot trend, but what about computer smell? Massachusetts based C2Sense is doing just this. The first goal of this start up is to allow computers to detect spoiling food. Similar to NYC rats in this case, auto food spoilage detection would have a much greater impact than you could imagine. 

Firstly, decreasing the risk of food related illness will have a major impact. In addition, this technology will have the ability to stop the domino effect of food spoilage. As one piece of fruit spoils it releases gasses the lead to all the fruit in that particular container to spoil. If there is a way to detect and remove that piece of fruit the entire batch would be saved. 

C2Sense reports that in the coming year the US Department of Energy will be testing their UHF enabled technology. The RFID enabled smell sensors should be available commercially following the US DOE testing. 

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3. Ikea Rolls out RFID Spoon Based Purchasing 

Yes, you read that right. Spoon based. Ikea Canada just completed a two week trial of that allowed shoppers to purchase merchandise with the tap of a spoon. All thanks to RFID technology, this solution freed shoppers from pushing around carts laden with low priced home essentials. Instead, shoppers simply carried around a wooden spoon with a built in RFID tag and just tapped items they wanted to purchase. 

"We wanted to create an experience to help support our global theme: 'It Starts With the Food,'" says Stephanie Kerr, Ikea's corporate press officer. "We thought a pop-up store would be an impactful way to bring this theme to life with consumers." 

After a trip around a Toronto based IKEA tapping on items they liked, customers took their spoons to a magic screen that showed them everything they had selected. They swiped a credit card and the items customers wanted were instantly delivered to their homes. The spoons were immediately proclaimed as "magical wands" by the mainstream press and the trial was met with great customer excitement. 

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