RFID Tracking System
What is RFID?
RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) is a technology that utilizes radio waves to read and capture information on tag attached to an object, animal or person. A typical RFID system consists of an antenna, a transceiver (which is often merged with the reader) and a transponder (the tag or label).
Everyday uses of RFID systems
Since being popularized, RFID has been utilized by several industries in different ways. A large IT company may use RFID tracking system to follow and monitor key assets and components such as server blades, laptops, and other costly items. Many marathon events and races use RFID to effectively track the progress of racers. In the retail industry it’s important for companies to be able to monitor their products. RFID allows this to be done on the item level and also enables them to track products while they’re in the supply chain and even up to the point of sale terminal.
How it works
Radio Frequency waves are emitted from the antenna which carries a signal that activates the transponder (the tag). Once activated, the transponder transmits data back to the antenna. The data transmitted is used to alert a logic controller to perform an action. In basic RFID systems the action would be to simply raise an access gate. More complicated systems would involve interaction with databases.
Military Applications of RFID
Since 2003 The U.S Military has utilized RFID in Iraq to track combat causalities. The RFID chips were sewn into the wristbands of soldiers and were used to track and identify the wounded arriving at a field hospital. Medical data unique to each soldier was stored on the chip and could be viewed by doctors who had RFID-enabled handheld devices. This allowed for personalized treatment of each patient, making doctors aware of medical allergies, previous medication usage, etc. The doctors were also able to add, change or create new records on the chip.
Equipment and Weapons Management
RFID has changed how the US Military monitors and manage their supply chain. This was especially a huge problem during World War 2 and though they had developed a system at that time to track supplies it had its faults. Introduction of RFID tracking systems improved asset visibility and the overall efficiency of the expansive military supply chain. RFID can also be used to secure supplies by alerting authorities of items being accessed by unauthorized personnel.
DAARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) had plans to implant microchips and sensors into soldiers to monitor health in the field. These RFID microchips would interact with the sensors to gather and transmit a soldier’s health status, promptly alerting them of illness or disease. This application cuts costs and improves efficiency. Other RFID chips would be implanted in the wears of soldiers and would be used to track troop movement and alert them if they are entering a highly radioactive zone or an area that has been exposed to dangerous chemical substances/weapons.