The history of RFID technology can be traced back to world war II, in 1935, the Scottish scientist Watson Watt discovered the radar to warn while the plane is approaching miles away. Then both the axis and allies adapt it, however, there is no way to identify whether the plane belongs to their own or enemy.
The Germans found that the radio signal reflected back from the plane was changed while the pilot rolls the plane, this would alert the radar crew that the plane is belong to them. this is the first passive RFID system.
To solve the identification problem, Watson watt developed the IFF system(active identify friend or foe system), a transmitter is mounted on each British plane, while the signal was received by the transmitter, it started to broadcast back a signal to tell that the plane is friendly. This is so-called the first active RFID system. Since then, RFID systems have come a long way. Its main milestones regarding the history of RFID are as follows:
The 1950s – RF technology is commercialized in anti-theft systems by using electronic article surveillance tags, it contains a 1-bit memory and can be turned on or off to show the goods are paid or not.
1973 – Mario W. Cardullo claims to have received the first US active RFID tag patent while Charles Walton, received the first passive tag patent, which is for door opening the application.The
The 1970s – Los Alamos National Laboratory developed a system to track nuclear materials. It is a passive RFID system, transponder is put in the truck with truck ID or driver ID, been identified by the gate reader to control access.
The 1970s – Los Alamos National Laboratory also developed a passive RFID system for US Agricultural Department to track cows for health management. Later, other companies developed a low-frequency(125kHZ) system for cows management, a transponder encapsulated in glass was injected under cow skin, also, low-frequency transponders were made to cards for access control in buildings.
The 1980s – Scientists from Los Alamos National Laboratory build a company to commercialize the technology to automated toll payment systems. which is still used all over the world.
The 1980s – over time, companies commercialized 125khz system and moved up to high frequency(13.56MHZ), companies in Europe use HF RFID system to track reusable containers and other assets, and now 13.56MHZ RFID system is widely used for access control, contactless smart cards, payment and immobilizer system.
The 1990s – IBM invented and patented ultra-high-frequency(UHF) system, and did some pilots with Walmart. Later, IBM sold its patents to Intermec, even the UHF RFID system was installed in many applications but wasn’t used widely due to cost and standard issues.
1999 – Uniform Code Council, EAN International, P&G, Gillette invested to establish the Auto-ID Center at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Professor David Brock and Sanjay Sarma changed the way of RFID application in the supply chain by turning RFID into networking technology.
1999-2003 – Auto-ID Center gained support from large companies and the U.S Department of Defense and developed two air interface protocols(Class 1 and Class 0), and the EPC definition. This technology finally resulted in establishing of EPCglobal to commercialize EPC technology.
2004 – Nokia, Philip, and Sony established NFC(near field communication) forum to enable the use of touch-based interactions in consumer electronics, mobile devices, PCs, smart objects, and for payment purposes. NFC operates at 13.56MHZ and uses HF RFID protocols, but it will dominate the mobile-payments markets and consumer applications while HF RFID is used for access control, inventory management, and automation. NFC forum’s goal is to bring the convenience of NFC technology to life.
2014 – RAIN RFID Alliance was founded by Google, Intel, Impinj, Smartrac, and AIM. RAIN RFID is a global alliance promoting the universal adoption of UHF RFID technology, RAIN uses the GS1 UHF Gen2 protocol which ISO/IEC has standardized as 18000-63.
RFID is now widely used to track items in almost all fields, from biomedical laboratories to aerospace, engineering, and logistics. Compared with traditional barcodes, it has many advantages, including storing more information and reading multiple tags at the same time without having to remove items from storage. The use of carbon nanotubes to produce chips further reduces costs. With the continuous development of RFID technology, it will eventually become cheaper and more user-friendly, so that inventory and work processes are kept up-to-date and well managed.
Above is the description of the history of RFID, for more questions, you may contact us at [email protected]