RFID 'Powder' - World's Smallest RFID Tag
The world's smallest and thinnest RFID tags were introduced yesterday by Hitachi. Tiny miracles of miniaturization, these RFID chips (Radio Frequency IDentification chips) measure just 0.05 x 0.05 millimeters.
The previous record-holder, the Hitachi mu-chip, is just 0.4 x 0.4 millimeters. Take a look at the size of the mu-chip RFID tag on a human fingertip.
(Hitachi mu-chip tiny RFID tag)
Now, compare that with the new RFID tags. The "powder type" tags are some sixty times smaller.
(Powder RFID chips next to a human hair)
The new RFID chips have a 128-bit ROM for storing a unique 38 digit number, like their predecessor. Hitachi used semiconductor miniaturization technology and electron beams to write data on the chip substrates to achieve the new, smaller size.
Hitachi's mu-chips are already in production; they were used to prevent ticket forgery at last year's Aichi international technology exposition. RFID 'powder,' on the other hand, is so much smaller that it can easily be incorporated into thin paper, like that used in paper currency and gift certificates.
Science fiction fans will have a field day with this new technology. In his 1998 novel Distraction, Bruce Sterling referred to bugged money:
They always played poker with European cash. There was American cash around, flimsy plastic stuff, but most people wouldn't take American cash anymore. It was hard to take American cash seriously when it was no longer convertible outside U.S. borders. Besides, all the bigger bills were bugged.
(Read more about bugged money)
These tiny RFID tags could be worked into any product; combined with RFID readers built into doorways, theft of consumer goods would be practically impossible. It's not clear from the references provided, but even if this chip needs an external antenna, the attached antenna would be a tiny ribbon of wire more narrow than a human hair and only a fraction of an inch long.
How far away could you be, and still read the information from this "powder RFID?" The source article is very thin; however, the mu-chip mentioned earlier is readable from a distance of 25 centimeters (about ten inches) with an external antenna like the one mentioned in the preceding paragraph. This doesn't sound like much, but it's certainly enough to read people going through doorways, for example.
These devices could also be used to identify and track people. For example, suppose you participated in some sort of protest or other organized activity. If police agencies sprinkled these tags around, every individual could be tracked and later identified at leisure, with powerful enough tag scanners.
To put it in the context of popular culture, see the picture below, which was taken from the 1996 movie Mission Impossible. One of the IMF operatives places a tracking tag on the shoulder of a computer programmer. Pretty clunky-looking tag...
(Tracking and ID tag from Mission Impossible movie)
Take a look at these earlier stories related to RFID, and consider how much easier it will be with tinier chips: RFID Sensor Tag Shower For Disasters (gentle rain of RFID), RFID-Maki: Easy Payment Sushi (just tag the sushi directly, then scan customer's stomach [no joke, see digestible tags]) and VeriChip Chairman Proposes RFID Chips For Immigrants (just dust the border).
Via Pink Tentacle. Also, read more about the mu-chip.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 2/14/2007)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 30 )
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?
RFID Information Technology Articles
Problems With RFID
Advantages of RFID Versus Barcodes
Contactless Credit Card Advantages
Contactless Credit Card Disadvantages
Related News Stories -
PredPol Predicting Crime As It Happens
'All day long the idiots babbled...'- Philip K. Dick, 1956.
CUPID Intercept Drone Like Niven's Copseye
'Copseyes floated overhead... each a sonic stunner... they were there to enforce the law...'- Larry Niven, 1972
Is Privacy Too Expensive?
'It was not a large office, but it was quite spy-proof and quite undetectably so.'- Isaac Asimov, 1951
MeCam Selfie Nano Drone Like Karen Traviss' Bee Cam
'He set his camera to follow him, and it hovered behind him like a large tame bee.'- Karen Traviss, 2004.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Amazing Video Shows Chameleon-Like Crystal Display
'Across the vast impersonal face of metal... a ribbon of fluid letters appeared...'
Will Autonomous Systems' Self-Preservation Lead To Dangerous Behavior?
'This, the new types. The new varieties of claws. We're completely at their mercy, aren't we?'
Ooho Water Bulb (Or Blob) Replaces Horrific Plastic Bottles
'I held up my bulb of water ... visibly there was water missing.'
SRI International's Speedy, Ant-Sized Microrobot Swarm
'As if swarms of tiny animals were busily scurrying about...'
SF Authors Have Wearable Computing Ideas
The device would need to convey essential information.
Bookies Let You Place Your Bets On the Future!
Put your money where your mouth is, sf fans!
How Do Americans See The Future Of Technology?
Do you want to participate in the future?
Updated: Flying Graffiti Drone Will Alter The Urban Landscape
The tagger's dream - lie in bed while painting at a remote location.
Should Autonomous Cars Have Feelings About Crashes?
'Robots have worse problems than anybody.'
M-Block Modular Robots Assemble Themselves
'... as though a child should build from nursery blocks a fantastic shape which abruptly is filled with throbbing life.'
Augmented Reality Ship's Bridge From Rolls Royce
'... the immense, three-dimensional, minutely cubed model...'
Artificial Blood From Factories
This blood's for you.
Wrigley's Anti-Impotence Chewing Gum
'Chew one of these, Mr. Chip.'
Arcology Now Universal Constructor
'... the hotel direly wanted to exist.'
MisTable Fog Display Like SeaQuest DSV
Captain Bridger, a message is coming in.
Full-Size Invisibility Cloak Now Possible
'I donned it and drew its hood, and threw on its current.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories