For argument's sake, if I had a box or bag full of multiple items—let's say 30 or so—all jumbled up on top of and beside each other, would it be possible to use RFID technology to scan the lot of them simultaneously? Could I do this without taking everything out of the bag or box—and would the readings be reliable enough for me to make sense of the resultant data?
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It would depend on what the items were and the type of RFID you were using to track them. If the items were RF-friendly (made of plastic, for example), then you should have no trouble reading all of their tags via passive UHF or passive HF RFID technology. If the items were made metal, it would likely be a little more challenging. If the items had high water content, a passive UHF system would likely have issues reading all of the tags, unless they were specifically designed for tracking high-liquid items, since water absorbs UHF energy and prevents it from reaching the tag. I would recommend that you conduct testing on different items or consult an RF engineer.
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This works great! The main thing is to choose the right tags for each item. You can see here: