Specifically, are there any small RFID devices suitable for use within the home, with a range of up to 5 meters (16.4 feet) or more?
There are many small passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tags on the market, designed to track rings in jewelry cases, as well as pharmaceuticals or other small items. However, the smaller the transponder, the shorter the read range, so most small tags have a read range of only 2 to 3 meters (6.6 to 9.8 feet). Another issue is that there is no simple passive UHF reader for consumers. The NFC readers built into many smartphones these days can interrogate passive high-frequency (HF) tags within about 18 inches.
There are a number of small handheld units, such as the Tertium BlueBerry iS, which can connect to a cell phone via a Bluetooth connection. But smaller readers have smaller batteries and typically have a much lower RF energy output to conserve batter life, which means they have a shorter read range. The Tertium BlueBerry, for example, has a read range of 30 centimeters (11.8 inches).
I believe that we will see passive UHF readers built into cell phones within five years. And in 20 years, we might see passive UHF readers that can be installed in a room to tell you that tagged objects are located within that room. But we’re not yet there.
—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal
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