Tech moves fast! Stay ahead of the curve with Techopedia!
Join nearly 200,000 subscribers who receive actionable tech insights from Techopedia.
A RFID chip is another term used to define a RFID tag. It is a tag, label or card that can exchange data with a reader using radio frequency (RF) signals. It usually has a built-in antenna and an integrated circuit IC). The antenna can send and receive radio waves, while the IC takes care of modulating and demodulating the radio signals, as well as processing and storing data.
RFID chips are quite similar to bar code labels in that they typically work with a corresponding scanner or reader. However, RFID chips have significant advantages. Because a RFID chip communicates with a reader through radio waves (not infrared, which is being used by bar code technology), the chip doesn’t have to be positioned right in front of the reader. That is, line-of-sight is not needed.
Also, unlike a bar code reader/label pair, which have to be really close (about a few centimeters), some RFID reader/chip pairs can function even if they are a few meters apart. Furthermore, while a bar code label can only be read by a single reader at a time, a RFID chip can transmit data to multiple readers simultaneously.
There are different kinds of RFID chips. Some require batteries, known as active chips, while others don’t (passive). Others are designed for indoor use or built for rugged, outdoor applications. The most common applications include object tracking and identification.
Chips can also differ in the kind of radio frequencies they operate on. Some communicate via Ultra High Frequency (UHF), High Frequency (HF) or Low Frequency (LF).
RFID chips can be attached just about anywhere: clothes, shoes, vehicles, containers and even plants, animals and human beings (as implants). Miniaturized chips have even been attached to insects.