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Microsoft Researchers Develop 3D Passive ID Tags

The InfraStruct system, currently in prototype, would use terahertz signals to identify an object via unique 3D shapes or hollowed sections built into its structure.
By Claire Swedberg

With InfraStruct (the word, derived from Latin, means "below structures"), users create an identifier (or tag) inside an object digitally by, for example, generating a pattern of bubbles in a layer of material used to fabricate the object itself. That shape or pattern is then stored in software to indicate that item.

The THz transmissions can penetrate plastics, papers and textiles. THz signals are transmitted and received optically (like light and infrared), using imaging technology similar to the complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) chips commonly found in digital cameras.

In one example of an InfraStruct tag, the researchers encoded data into three layers of laser-cut polystyrene.
Historically, the THz band's most common application has been the detection of imperfections in a material, such as the foam used on a spacecraft, since it reflects the presence of flaws—voids and cracks, for instance—back to a user.

InfraStruct takes advantage of this concept in a different way. As a THz emission passes through a material, some of that radiation is reflected back, first as it passes through the enclosure material and again upon entering the variation, based on the specific tag built into that object. In this way, it can reflect information back to the user, not about a defect, but about a shape or design deliberately embedded in an object. Varying the material structures within that item can create reflections encoded with unique binary information that the InfraStruct software could use to identify that object.

USER COMMENTS

Smail Tedjini 2013-07-29 03:00:26 PM
On the same topic. Three years ago we started prospective project on passive tags at THz frequency. We used periodic multilayer structures and identifier is obtained by introducing some defects in the multilayer structure. We demonsrated this concept using papers. We can provide more details Prof. Smail Tedjini smail.tedjini@grenoble-inp.fr Here are two references : M. Bernier, F. Garet, E. Perret, L. Duvillaret, S. Tedjini, ”Terahertz encoding approach for secured chipless radio frequency identification”, Applied Optics, Vol. 50 Issue 23, pp.4648-4655, august 2011. E. Perret, M. Hamdi, A. Vena, F. Garet, M. Bernier, L. Duvillaret, S. Tedjini, ”RF and THz Identification using a new generation of chipless RFID tags”, Radioengineering – Special Issue towards EuCAP 2012: Emerging Materials, Methods, and Technologies in Antenna & Propagation, Vol. 20, N°2, pp.380, 386, June 2011.

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