Barcode technology has revolutionized the world with retail and non-retail entities using barcodes to enhance and simplify their services and operations. Be it on any packaged items like water bottles, grocery, gift items, or textile, hospitality, healthcare, electronics or other businesses, barcodes have become omnipresent.
But, as we always say, change is constant, Barcodes too are in for a change. If one goes by Monash University’s latest research report, researchers has developed “Chipless Tags” which will replace barcode stickers on any material.
Dr Nemai Karmakar from the Department of Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering of Monash University, Australia, has led a team of researchers in making chipless radio frequency identification (RFID) tags which can be directly printed on products and packed things including postal items, books and drugs making it inexpensive and faster than any other tracking system available in the market. Besides, the new technology is environment friendly as usage of plastic wrappers has been completely negated due to direct barcode printing.
Dr Karmakar’s team has developed printable tags for liquids and metals including soft-drinks cans and water bottles.
Direct barcode printing has been an issue with researchers till recently as liquids and metal were deterrent to the technology. Barcode tags can be printed with inkjet printers and can be scanned when they are associated with reflective surfaces such as water bottles or metal cans.
Dr Karmakar claimed that his team has made a breakthrough in developing fully printable chipless RFID tags on plastics and paper, and the new technology could revolutionize the multi-billion dollar RFID market.
Commenting on his team’s findings, Dr Karmakar said: "Chipless tags printed directly on products and packaging means they are more reliable, compact and also cost effective than any other type of barcoding system."
Explaining about the technical specification, the scientist said: "The chipless RFID is a large data capacity mm-wave barcode method that functions at 60 GHz mm-wave signal. This is much smaller in size than any other chipless RFID tags commercially available. But it can still hold high amount of information and data.”
The team faced great challenge in transferring the technology to plastic and paper while maintaining the high printing resolution. He said, the 60 GHz mm-wave tag has a unique feature as it can handle surface variations and printing errors. “It's promising in its ability to bring in changes in the multi-billion dollar RFID market," he said.
The chipless RFID tag can also be used above 80 degrees and cryogenic temperatures.
"Such chipless tags can also be used in biomedical samples kept at cryogenic temperatures," Dr Karmakar added.