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RFID Sensor Tag Shower For Disasters

RFID tags with sensors are being used for a number of different applications. For example, pure sake has been transported with RFID tags that measure temperature to assure quality (see graphic below). The Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications has proposed a more serious use - to gather information at the scene of a disaster.


(RFID sensor tags detect temperature)

In the event of an earthquake or tsunami that destroys the local telecommunications infrastructure, RFID sensor tags could be sprinkled from helicopters. The Ministry estimates that as many as 10,000 individual tags might be needed to cover an area the size of a major airport.

These tags would be equipped with integrated sensors to detect heat and vibration; once deployed, they could be read at intervals by aircraft passing close overhead. In this way, it might be possible to quickly locate people still left alive.

The integration of sensors into RFID tags is still in its infancy; other sensor tags exist to detect specific gases or even specific organic molecules. The Japanese system is supposed to be ready for testing by 2007.

This reminded me strongly of similar activities carried out in science fiction writer Robert Silverberg's 1969 novel The Man in the Maze. In the novel, alien worlds are investigated by showering the planet with a thousand throw-away sensor devices like the recording eye. Here is what one of the recording eyes sent back:

...three alien figures came strolling through the somber grove. They were elongated, almost spidery, with clusters of eight or ten jointed limbs depending from their narrow shoulders...

One of them paused, bent peered closely at the ground. It scooped up the eye that had been witnessing its activities. The image grew chaotic; Muller guessed that the eye was being passed from hand to hand...
(Read more about the recording eye

In the same novel, a large protective field that covers an entire city is tested by showering the city with small pellets that would interact with the field at precisely one meter intervals. By recording each instance in which the pellet was destroyed, it provided a complete visualization of the protective field.

Read more about the plan to sprinkle RFID sensor tags

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 3/20/2006)

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Index of related articles:

What is RFID?
How RFID Works
How is RFID used inside a living body?
What can RFID be used for?
Is RFID Technology Secure and Private?
Are There Concerns About How RFID Will Be Used? (Update)
Next-Generation Uses of RFID?
What Are Zombie RFID Tags?
Problems With RFID
RFID Information Technology Articles
Advantages of RFID Versus Barcodes
RFID Glossary
Contactless Credit Card Advantages
Contactless Credit Card Disadvantages

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