"All the World's a Stage We Pass Through" R. Ayana

Wednesday 25 May 2011

RFID 'Powder': World's Smallest RFID Tag

RFID 'Powder': World's Smallest RFID Tag


The world's smallest and thinnest RFID tags were introduced by Hitachi last February. Tiny miracles of miniaturization, these RFID chips (Radio Frequency IDentification chips) measure just 0.05 x 0.05 millimeters.

The previous record-holder, the Hitachi mu-chip, is just 0.4 x 0.4 millimeters. Take a look at the size of the mu-chip RFID tag on a human fingertip.


Now, compare that with the new RFID tags. The "powder type" tags are some sixty times smaller. 

The new RFID chips have a 128-bit ROM for storing a unique 38 digit number, like their predecessor. Hitachi used semiconductor miniaturization technology and electron beams to write data on the chip substrates to achieve the new, smaller size.

Hitachi's mu-chips are already in production; they were used to prevent ticket forgery at last year's Aichi international technology exposition. RFID 'powder,' on the other hand, is so much smaller that it can easily be incorporated into thin paper, like that used in paper currency and gift certificates.

Science fiction fans will have a field day with this new technology. In his 1998 novel Distraction, Bruce Sterling referred to bugged money:

They always played poker with European cash. There was American cash around, flimsy plastic stuff, but most people wouldn't take American cash anymore. It was hard to take American cash seriously when it was no longer convertible outside U.S. borders. Besides, all the bigger bills were bugged. (Read more about bugged money)

These tiny RFID tags could be worked into any product; combined with RFID readers built into doorways, theft of consumer goods would be practically impossible. It's not clear from the references provided, but even if this chip needs an external antenna, the attached antenna would be a tiny ribbon of wire more narrow than a human hair and only a fraction of an inch long.

How far away could you be, and still read the information from this "powder RFID?" The source article is very thin; however, the mu-chip mentioned earlier is readable from a distance of 25 centimeters (about ten inches) with an external antenna like the one mentioned in the preceding paragraph. This doesn't sound like much, but it's certainly enough to read people going through doorways, for example.

These devices could also be used to identify and track people. For example, suppose you participated in some sort of protest or other organized activity. If police agencies sprinkled these tags around, every individual could be tracked and later identified at leisure, with powerful enough tag scanners.

To put it in the context of popular culture, see the picture below, which was taken from the 1996 movie Mission Impossible. One of the IMF operatives places a tracking tag on the shoulder of a computer programmer. Pretty clunky-looking tag...

Take a look at these earlier stories related to RFID, and consider how much easier it will be with tinier chips: RFID Sensor Tag Shower For Disasters (gentle rain of RFID), RFID-Maki: Easy Payment Sushi (just tag the sushi directly, then scan customer's stomach [no joke, see digestible tags]) and VeriChip Chairman Proposes RFID Chips For Immigrants (just dust the border).
Via Pink Tentacle. Also, read more about the mu-chip.

Xtra Image - http://socioecohistory.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/hitachi_rfid_chips.jpg?w=470&h=218

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  1. The majority of the people I know, are highly skeptical, they look at government as being an organized crime group of thugs acting for the benefit of the banking-corporate fraternity. And NO ONE will allow government to inject any kind of RFID chip in whatever form into their bodies. Alternative news sources are beginning to wake people up to the objectives of the fraternity and they are losing power with each dissenting voice. There will be no mandated implant program period.

  2. Sounds to me like the government is already setting up technology to track our every movement. Haven't you heard that cameras are currently being placed in all sorts of places that you would not think they'd be? They don't get permission for that invasion of privacy so I doubt they'd get permission to require us to have a tiny mini chip embedded into our skin. When they require them to be in the right hand or forehead it is the "Mark of the Beast" as foretold in the Bible.

  3. I am usually to blogging and i genuinely appreciate your content regularly.

  4. Very useful blog post on world's smallest RFID tag. Thanks for sharing this information.

  5. Can i know the contact person details .

  6. i have a question about the rfid chip will it get answer here??? email me at vnotes1@yahoo.com

  7. I think the things you covered through the post are quiet impressive, good job and great efforts. I found it very interesting and enjoyed reading all of it...keep it up, lovely job..

    Biometric Fingerprint Recognition Device

  8. It was hard to take American cash seriously when it was no longer convertible outside U.S. borders. RFID tags


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