Can an RFID Tag on a Bracelet Communicate With and Measure the Distance from Other Bracelets?

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Ask The ExpertsCategory: QuestionsCan an RFID Tag on a Bracelet Communicate With and Measure the Distance from Other Bracelets?
Dan RS asked 7 months ago
For example, the distance might be 2 meters between bracelets, and there could be some action if the distance were less than what was predefined. Can you please advise whether this is feasible to produce, and how best to develop such a platform? Is there already a product able to do that?

—Dan

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Dan,

Yes, this is possible. Real-time location systems using active RFID technology can determine the locations of tagged objects, including human beings wearing bracelets, and software can calculate the distance between the tags. I would recommend an ultra-wideband (UWB) system since the location accuracy is more precise than with other active RFID systems. UWB systems can locate an object to within 10 centimeters, whereas other systems can tell you that a tagged object is in a specific zone or locate an object to within 1 square meter.

You will need to set up reader antennas around the area in which people are being tracked. The RFID transponder within the bracelet will beacon every second or two, and the location of the person wearing the device will be plotted on a map. Most systems are designed to allow you to create alerts if various scenarios occur, such as two people coming within a few feet of one another.

The downside of this system is that you would need to set up an array of readers to capture signals from the bracelets. If you are using the system to also track assets (say, in a factory), it won’t pose a problem. But setting up such a system in a large space for this particular application would be expensive. There are solutions that use smart watches or smartphones and Bluetooth to determine if two people have been in close contact. We have written about several of these.

Mark Roberti
Founder and Editor
RFID Journal

 

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