There are two types of radio frequency identification transponders covered by the generic term “chipless RFID.” One type of chipless tags uses plastic or conductive polymers (rather than silicon-based microchips) that act like tags with microchips, though their performance is not as good—at least, not at this stage of their development (see Low-Cost Chipless RFID Tags Progressing).
Other chipless tags utilize materials that reflect back a portion of the radio waves beamed at them, with a computer analyzing their signal to identify an object. One company, Somark Labstamp, has developed an animal tattoo using RF resonant inks (see RFID Tattoos for Livestock).
In addition, companies are experimenting with embedding RF-reflecting fibers in paper, to prevent unauthorized photocopying of certain documents (see Firewall Protection for Paper Documents). There are also inks that reflect back radio waves at specific frequencies, enabling farmers, for example, to tattoo a chipless RFID transponder onto an animal for identification purposes.
—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal
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