Comp 1631
Sean Speers
Some Background
-Electromagnetic Waves
-Generation and Transmission
-What is RFID?
-Types of Tags
-Early Development (1960’s)
-First Commercial Use of RFID
-Development in the 1970’s
-Global Implementation
-Recent Improvements
-RFID in Humans?
Electromagnetic Waves
 Michael Faraday proposed in 1846 that both light and radio waves are
part of electromagnetic energy.
 In 1864 James Clerk Maxwell published his theory on electromagnetic
fields and found that electric and magnetic energy propagate in
transverse waves at the speed of light
 In 1887 Heinrich Rudolf Hertz produced and studied electromagnetic
waves. He concluded that they are long transverse waves that can be
reflected, refracted and polarized He is credited as the first person to
transmit and receive radio waves.
Radio Waves and Radar
 In 1988 Guglielmo Marconi performed the first successful transmission
of radiotelegraphy across the Atlantic.
 1906 Ernst F. W. Alexanderson demonstrated the first continuous wave
(CW) generation and transmission of radio signals.
 1922 is considered to be the birth of radar.
 Radar sends out radio waves to detect and locate an object based on
reflection of the wave. This reflection determines the position and
speed of an object.
What is RFID?
 Radio Frequency Identification is technology that communicates data
between a reader and an electronic tag. It is used for identification and
 RFID tags are composed of two parts; an integrated circuit chip and an
 Each tag has a unique number
 There are three common types of RFID tags; active RFID tags; passive
RFID tags and battery assisted RFID tags.
Active RFID Tags
 These tags have a battery built in to trigger signals through the
Passive RFID Tags
 These do not have an internal battery nor do they require external
Battery Assisted RFID Tags
 These require outside power to initiate, but can continue
Theory of RFID
 RFID is a combination of radio broadcasting and radar.
 Early theory concerning RFID was done by Harry Stockman in 1948
“Communication by Means of Reflected Power”. He acknowledged it
would take time for suitable research and development to occur.
 In following years developments required for RFID such as the
transistor; integral circuits; microprocessors and communication
networks were established.
 In the 1950’s, RFID techniques were explored,. Among these was long
range transponder systems such as IFF (Identification Friend or Foe)
used for aircraft.
Early Development (1960’s)
 RFID techniques were explored,. Among these was long range
transponder systems such as IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) used for
1963-1964 R. F. Harringtom studied electromagnetic theory related to
RFID in his works “Field measurements using active scattterers” and
“Theory of loaded scatterers”
Inventors began developing concepts such as Robert Richardson’s
“Remotely activated radio frequency powered devices” in 1963.
In 1967 J.P Vinding published “Interrogator-responder identification
In 1968 J. H. Vogelman published “Passive data transmission
techniques utilizing radar beams”
In 1969 Otto Rittenback released “Communication by radar beams”
EAS First Commercial Use of RFID
 Commercial productions begin in 1960’s
 Companies such as Sensormatic, Checkpoint and Krugo developed
electronic article surveillance (EAS) to counter theft.
 These EAS systems use either microwave or inductive technology and
have 1 bit tags that detect only the presence or absence of a tag.
 These tags could be made inexpensively and provided good anti-theft
 Argued to be the first widespread use of RFID
Development in the 1970’s
 In the 1970’s a rush took place for advancing RFID by investors, academic
institutions and government laboratories .
 A notable work was made in 1975 at Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory by Alfred
Koelle, Steven Depp and Robert Freyman “Short-range radio-telemetry for
electronic identification using modulated backscatter”
 Large companies made advancements as well, such as:
-Raytheons “Raytag”in 1973
-Richard Klensh of RCA developed “Electronic identification system” in 1975
-F. Sterzer of RCA developed “Electronic license plate for motor vehicles” in 1977
- Thomas Meyers and Ashley Leigh of Farchild developed “Passive encoding
microwave transponder” in 1978
Global Implementation
 The 1980’s brought RFID into work all over the world.
 Standards developed
 Technological interest developed differently around the world.
 In the US, major interests included transportation and personal access.
In Europe the greatest interests were industrial and business
applications, as well as road tolls in Italy, France, Spain, Portugal and
 In the 1990’s, toll collection in the US and other areas becomes
 In 1991 Oklahoma had the first open highway electric toll system that
didn’t require stopping.
Recent Improvements(2009 +)
 Increased miniaturization. The smallest chip being (0.05mm x
 New chips can store up to 128bit Reade Only Memory (ROM)
 Korean laboratory created chips using carbon nanotubes, cutting the
production cost in half.
 Credit card companies have begun to insert RFID into mobile phones.
The phone can then be linked to bank accounts and used for mobile
RFID in Humans?
 Implanting tags in humans could have a number of advantages . And
has already been implemented in a small scale.
 For example, you need not worry about losing your credit card or keys;
just pass your hand by a scanner when you make a purchase or want to
unlock your car;.
 Tags could link to medical information and history in case of
 Some disadvantages are presented as well.
 Many people believe this would take away their privacy.
 Tags have been found to cause problems in an MRI; and possible tissue
 Many people have privacy concerns related to RFID.
 Critics believe this could lead to tracking individuals every moments.
 The owner of an item may not be aware of the presence of RFID tag.
Since they remain functional and can be read from a long distance, it’s
possible to gather sensitive data without consent.
Reference List
“Shrouds of Time The History of RFID”
AIM Publication
Accessed Feb 1 2011 from
Shah Newaz Alam, “RFID Chip In Humans”
Accessed Feb 2 2011 from
“Radio-Frequency identification”
Accessed Feb 2 2011 from