Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Better Than Barcodes

Date:
August 14, 2002
Source:
Office Of Naval Research
Summary:
Very small electric crystal chips can now be embedded into products to provide up to 96 bits of information when they're read by an electromagnetic scanner.

That bar code on your cereal box holds information read by a laser scanner. It's not much information, but it's enough to let the supermarket take your money, keep track of inventory, follow trends in customer preference, and restock its shelves. Scanners and bar codes speed up checkout, but they've got a few limitations. The scanning laser needs a direct line of sight to the bar code, and the bar code itself needs to be reasonably clean and undamaged – one reason your cashier might have to swipe that bag of spuds four or five times before the scanner reads it.

Now there's something better, and it comes out of an Office of Naval Research program that goes back four decades. Very small electric crystal chips can now be embedded into products to provide up to 96 bits of information when they're read by an electromagnetic scanner. (That's roughly 6 times as much as bar codes hold. It also meets the new industry standard developed by the MIT-led Auto-ID Center.) These new radio-frequency scanners, unlike the optical ones in most supermarkets today, can read the chip whether they have direct line-of-sight to it or not. And dirt? Ordinary dirt matters not at all.

The chips themselves are so small (less than an inch long with the antenna attached, and only about as thick as a pencil lead) and so simple that they don't need a power source--it all comes from the scanner. The new chips store enough information to uniquely tag just about every individual manufactured item. In effect, the scanner reads not only the category and model number, but a serial number for the particular item that bears the tag. The tags can be used for all kinds of marking, supply, tracking, inventory management, and logistical tasks. Imagine checking out by just pushing your cart through the supermarket's door--that's one of the new possibilities some major retailers are looking at.

From 1962 to 1976, the Office of Naval Research (ONR) sponsored development of "surface acoustic wave (SAW) technology" for filters in electromagnetic systems, electronic warfare surveillance devices, color TV receivers, and other devices of use to the Navy and Marine Corps. The original work was performed at Texas Instruments by Clinton Hartman and Lew Clairborne, who have since spun the technology off into their Texas-based company, RF SAW, Inc.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Office Of Naval Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Office Of Naval Research. "Better Than Barcodes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 August 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/08/020814070656.htm>.
Office Of Naval Research. (2002, August 14). Better Than Barcodes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/08/020814070656.htm
Office Of Naval Research. "Better Than Barcodes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/08/020814070656.htm (accessed August 20, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) Scientists have developed a new device that mimics the way octopuses blend in with their surroundings to hide from dangerous predators. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Green Power Blooms as Japan Unveils 'hydrangea Solar Cell'

Green Power Blooms as Japan Unveils 'hydrangea Solar Cell'

AFP (Aug. 19, 2014) A solar cell that resembles a flower is offering a new take on green energy in Japan, where one scientist is searching for renewables that look good. Duration: 01:29 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tiny Satellites, Like The One Tossed From ISS, On The Rise

Tiny Satellites, Like The One Tossed From ISS, On The Rise

Newsy (Aug. 18, 2014) The Chasqui I, hand-delivered into orbit by a Russian cosmonaut, is one of hundreds of small satellites set to go up in the next few years. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins