RFID and Automatic Identification Focus: Our Weekly Feature Article on Topics of Interest to those Using or Considering RFID or other Auto ID Technologies  
 
 
  - October 21, 2009 -  

 

RFID News: Visualizing RFID Read Fields

 



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The Magic and the Challenge of RFID is that You Can’t See it; LED Wand Tied to Tag Reads Solves that Problem

 
     
  SCDigest Editorial Staff  
 

 

SCDigest Says:

The key point is just that it is important to understand this reader-tag interaction – and that for challenging applications, such a visualization effort might in fact prove very useful.


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Both the “magic” and the problem of RFID technology is that you can’t see it.

 

So says designer Timo Arnall of Oslo, Norway, who conducted a unique experiment published on-line this month to help visualize the interaction between RFID readers and tags.

 

We’ll let the pictures tell most of the story.

 

Arnall, along with partner Jack Schulze, first mounted an RFID reader and captured a still photo shot of the reader position.

 

 

(RFID and Automatic Identification Article - Continued Below)

 
     
 
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Next, Arnall connected an RFID tag to an LED wand in such a way that whenever the tag was picked up and charged by the reader, the LED wand would briefly turn on and emit a light beam.

 

 

By moving the wand around the reader array and triggering a camera to capture an image when the wand turned on, Arnall was able to capture visually what the read field looked like by superimposing those LED emissions over top of the original still image of the mounted reader, as shown below.

 

 

The key point, Arnall points out, is that this visualization is not of the reader field itself, but rather of the reader-tag interaction field. Different readers and/or different tags could present a different interaction field. In fact, Arnall and Schultze repeated the experiment using a different type of reader and antenna, and achieved a very different visualization pattern.

 

 

The key point is just that it is important to understand this reader-tag interaction – and that for challenging applications, such a visualization effort might, in fact, prove very useful.

 

To see the complete video, go here: RFID Visualization Video.

 

 

What do you think of this visualization experiment? Does it have practical applications? Let us know your thoughts at the Feedback button below.


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