June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
11.1098.1 - 11.1098.5
RFID: Where does it fit in ECET Education?
Introduction Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is technology that is quickly being embraced by a variety of industries, including retail, pharmaceutical, and defense. Industry experts predict a huge demand for RFID technicians in the next 5 years. Hundreds of thousands of technologists are needed to configure, install, and support equipment being utilized in hundreds of industries and government. Expertise will be needed to adapt off-the-shelf components to unique environments, including warehouses, factories, retail stores, hospitals and libraries. These technicians will need the skills traditionally learned in the ECET curriculum, (such as circuits, power, and computer networking) with the addition of the specifics RFID tags and integrators.
Radio Frequency Identification is a technology where tags containing radio frequency (RF) circuitry are attached to items. These tags are remotely interrogated by readers that use radio waves to activate and collect information from the tags. Since every tag is unique, this technology is being used in a wide variety of applications: keeping inventory in retail operations, keeping electronic pedigrees of drugs to meet Federal Drug Administration requirements, and even taking attendance at schools. The compact size of the readers (the size of a text book), affordability of the tags (less than $1 each), and usability of the reader software makes this an ideal technology for use in the teaching laboratory. Introducing RFID into the ECET curriculum serves two purposes: it teaches modern tools of the industry, and it gives a practical way to teach important radio frequency concepts.
How RFID works There are four main components in an RFID system: the interrogator or reader, the antenna(s) connected to interrogator, a computer interface, and the tag. (See Figure 1) The interrogator, antenna, and interface will all be part of an installation or a handheld system, while the tag will be attached in the item(s) of interest. Figure 1: Basic RFID System The interrogator is the main piece of hardware in an RFID installation. It performs many different functions: • It creates the “wake up” or query signal to send to the tags. • It amplifies the signal and sends it to the antenna • It collects tag responses from the antenna • It sorts the tag responses • It determines if and what additional queries are necessary • It generates the additional queries • It sends the sorted responses to a computer/microprocessor or network There can be multiple tags inside the interrogation zone that will answer an initial query. The interrogator will follow a pattern (usually a tree scheme) to address each tag individually and receive only one tag’s information at a time. Regulations and standards require RFID systems to
Cooney, E. (2006, June), Rfid: Where Does It Fit In Ecet Education? Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--289
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