Is Chipless RFID Possible for Retail Food Applications?

By RFID Journal

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Ask The ExpertsIs Chipless RFID Possible for Retail Food Applications?
RFID Journal Staff asked 6 years ago

If so, what options are there?

—Name withheld

———

There are different definitions of “chipless” when it comes to RFID.

The term can refer to a transponder that works like a conventional RFID transponder but has an integrated circuit that is printed with conductive materials, instead of using a silicon chip. These tags don’t perform as well as transponders with silicon chips, because the printed electronics are less efficient than silicon. They also don’t have as many features, since it’s harder to create the components of a sophisticated chip with inks. But they could potentially be used to track food in supermarkets.

Another form of chipless RFID involves using metal fibers, inks or other materials that reflect radio waves. With these systems, you would bounce radio waves off a tagged item and look for a unique signal that can be turned into a serial number. These, too, could work on food in retail stores, though you usually can only identify one item at a time. That means performing rapid inventory counts with a handheld is not possible. Another drawback is the lack of international or industry standards.

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal

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