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Ten Best, Worst, and Craziest Uses of RFID 126

An anonymous reader writes "This top 10 rounds up what it calls 'the best, worst and craziest' uses of RFID out there — including chipped kids at Legoland, smart pub tables that let you order drinks, smartcards for sports fans, and chipped airline passengers. The craziest use of the tech surely has to be RFID chips for Marks & Spencer suits — you couldn't pay most people to wear one of them."
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Ten Best, Worst, and Craziest Uses of RFID

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  • Re:Unheard of! (Score:3, Informative)

    by svunt ( 916464 ) on Saturday December 02, 2006 @10:55AM (#17080142) Homepage Journal
    Australia. There are bars with table service, but I've always been too smart arsed, lecherous and possibly unhygienic to get work at one.
  • by Lord Satri ( 609291 ) <alexandreleroux@gmail . c om> on Saturday December 02, 2006 @10:55AM (#17080146) Homepage Journal
    There's often a confusion between passive and active tags, which have different types of uses and different capabilities, read about it on wikipedia []. Additionally, Slashgeo (yup, plug) has a section on RFID tags [].

    From TA: "RFID has also made an appearance in the army to try and reduce casualties from 'friendly fire' incidents." ... let's not forget the actual range limitation of most RFID tags.

    Yes, RFID is one of the geospatial technology which will have a significant impact on our lives. The "100% organic matter RFID chip developed in Korea, costing only 0.5 cents []" kind of headlines will only be seen more often in the near future.
  • from TFA (Score:2, Informative)

    by moogs ( 1003361 ) < minus painter> on Saturday December 02, 2006 @11:36AM (#17080346)
    Japanese authorities decided to start chipping schoolchildren in one primary school in Osaka a couple of years ago. The kids' clothes and bags were fitted with RFID tags with readers installed in school gates and other key locations to track the minors' movements.

    Legoland also introduced a similar scheme to stop children going astray by issuing RFID bracelets for the tots.

    Pub tables:
    Thirsty students can escape the busy bar and still get a pint thanks to RFID tables that deliver orders remotely.

    The high-tech bar is fitted with touchscreens so students can get a round in, order a taxi or even chat-up someone at the next table.

    Fulham Football Club:
    Fulham FC has started issuing RFID-enabled smartcards to fans to cut queues at the turnstiles and increase safety around the stadium.

    Around 20,000 of the smartcards have been issued to mainly season ticket holders and club members and contain data on matches each cardholder has paid for.

    Air passengers:
    It was also suggested by boffins at University College London that air passengers should be RFID-tagged as they mingle in the departure lounge to improve airport security.'s audience called the idea, amongst other things, Orwellian, intrusive and detrimental to airport security.

    RFID has also made an appearance in the army to try and reduce casualties from 'friendly fire' incidents.

    Last year Nato's Operation Urgent Quest exercise tested the potential of a number of combat identity systems under battlefield conditions.

    Hospital in-patients:
    In an effort to trim clinical errors, hospitals in New York and Germany have been tagging their patients. Visitors to the hospitals are given RFID-chipped wristbands to wear which are scanned by medical personnel to bring up their records and make sure the patients are given the correct dosages of drugs.

    The same clinic which tags its patients is also tagging blood. No vampire-pleasing effort this, rather the Klinikum Saarbruecken is using the tags to make sure the right blood reaches the right patient. Nurses will be able to scan the tags using reader-equipped PDAs or tablet PCs and check that the blood data matches the information held on an RFID-tagged bracelet worn by the patient.

    The National Patient Safety Agency in the UK is also considering a similar move.

    Marks and Spencer has long been associated with being at the forefront of flogging ladies' undies. It's also now at the forefront of item-level tagging, having chipped some of its men's clothes. The retailer has avoided questions of privacy protection by attaching the tag to a label on the suit that can be cut off.

    M&S has now extended the trials nationwide.

    One of the more controversial applications is soon-to-be mandatory use of RFID in passports. The US is leading the way in deployments and the UK isn't far behind.

    As well as the obvious privacy fears that surround such rollouts, experts have questioned how secure the passports are with some claiming to have cracked and cloned them already.

    The first item-level rollout in Europe has already taken place in Dutch book store BGN. Each of the books in BGN's Almere store is chipped and a second store, in Maastricht, will soon go the same way, allowing the retailer to track each book from its central warehouse to the shop floor.
  • Tagging books (Score:2, Informative)

    by lamona ( 743288 ) on Saturday December 02, 2006 @11:56AM (#17080518) Homepage
    There's been great controversy in libraries about the privacy implications of tagging books. The San Francisco Public Library board nixed the library's idea to switch from barcodes to RFID, even though the latter makes library circulation more accurate. Berkeley essentially fired its library director for implementing RFID tagging of books. Studies [] show that there are potential threats to privacy either by setting up a scanner outside of the library to see what people are taking out, or by targeting certain "hot button" titles and scanning to see who exits the library with them. These threats seem to be pretty outlandish to me since there are generally easier ways to monitor people's reading, like just following them around the library to see what book they take off the shelf. But some people are very worked up about this. Yet the library use of RFID is much less likely to result in a loss of privacy because the RFID tag will contain only an accession code, not the title of the book nor the ISBN. This is because libraries use a true item-level number for circulation, since they can have more than one copy of the same book. One would have to access the staff module of the library system to make the connection between the code and the book. With bookstore tagging of items, my guess is that at least part of the code on the tag will be the ISBN, which reveals the book title. It will be interesting to see if the same people get worked up about the bookstore's use of RFID if it ever hits the US. Right now, it's still considered too expensive to tag individual books.
  • by danceswithtrees ( 968154 ) on Saturday December 02, 2006 @01:27PM (#17081316)
    I think that most people would agree that Amal Graafstra should take the prize for the craziest use of RFID. All of the other things on the list are so so. Most people would try it once, may or may not like it/find it useful/find it annoying. Very few would ever consider doing what this guy did- have a RFID surgically implanted into his hand. Here is the link: html []

    There are before and after pictures as well as a video of the procedure.

Perfection is acheived only on the point of collapse. - C. N. Parkinson