Can I Track the Layout of a Set of Tensor Barriers in a Busy Hall?

By RFID Journal

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Ask The ExpertsCan I Track the Layout of a Set of Tensor Barriers in a Busy Hall?
RFID Journal Staff asked 6 years ago

If they are in a particular configuration, can I then pass the details to another system?

—Name withheld

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Tensor barriers are poles with retractable bands that are used in banks, arenas and other places to organize lines of people. The application you describe would be a bit challenging. There are active RFID systems, particularly ultra-wideband (UWB) systems, that could pinpoint a tensor barrier’s location within a large hall. But UWB tags can cost upwards of $50 apiece, which would probably be too expensive to make this application feasible. Another challenge would be knowing whether the bands between tensor barriers in a grid pattern were running north-south or east-west.

There are passive phased-array antenna systems, such as those from Impinj and Mojix, that can locate a passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) tag in three-dimensional space. It might be possible to place a tag on top of each tensor barrier and in the band every five feet or so. The phased-array antenna systems would not give you a perfectly accurate image of the tensor barriers and the bands between them, because the radio waves would bounce around in the environment, but they might give you a good enough picture that software could interpret each tensor band’s location and configuration. You’d have to conduct some testing to be sure.

Another option might be video analytics. Cameras mounted in the ceiling might be able to capture images that could be interpreted by a video-analytics system. I do not know what such a system would cost, however. Perhaps one of our readers might have some insights on this—if anyone has a suggestion for how this application should be handled, please post a comment below.

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal

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