Can I Use an RFID Reader and Tags to Locate Items That Disappear From Time to Time?

By RFID Journal

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Ask The ExpertsCan I Use an RFID Reader and Tags to Locate Items That Disappear From Time to Time?
RFID Journal Staff asked 7 years ago

I would like to utilize the technology to find things like wallets, cell phone, car keys, check books, etc., that crawl under the car seat or couch, or roam around the house or deck. I have looked on the Web, and there does not seem to be a personal RFID system. Any suggestions?

—Greg

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Dear Greg,

There have been a number of companies that have looked at creating this kind of solution, but without much success. That’s because RFID is a short-range technology, and cell phone manufacturers typically limit the amount of power that can be used by plug-ins in order to conserve battery power. As a result, when you plug an RFID reader into a cell phone, you get a read range of only about a few inches. That makes it difficult to find things within your house when you can only read tags from inches away.

Perhaps the best solution on the market—or, rather, soon to hit the market—is from Tile, a startup that has raise nearly $3 million through crowd-funding (see Who Says RFID Tags Pose a Privacy Risk or Are Too Costly?). The Tile solution uses a small Bluetooth device that you can attach to your keys or laptop. It has a range of more than 50 feet and works with any Bluetooth-enabled phone (which is pretty much all of them these days). The downside of Tile’s system is that it is pricy and has batteries that will eventually die out. Still, it would be a great thing to be able to find your keys or television remote.

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal

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