Tuesday, December 8, 2015

RFID powder

Behold, more technology to make the paranoid lose sleep at night.

The world's smallest RFID tags have just been introduced by Hitachi. These Radio Frequency IDentification (RFID) chips are only 0.15mm X 0.15mm in size. By looking at these dimensions, it's easy to see how these chips get the nicknames "powder" and "dust."

What are the applications for this? Well, all manner of things. One concept is called "bugged money." This RFID powder is mixed in with the fibers of paper currency, thereby making the money easier to track or authenticate...or both. Upon the mention of "bugged money," a friend of mine told me such currency made an appearance in the old Bruce Sterling novel, Distraction. It's a book I have not read, but I have no trouble believing Sterling as prescient. The RFID powder technique need not solely be applied to money, either. Same method could be used with gift cards or event tickets. As you might imagine, there are also proposed military applications.

One such concept is "Smartdust." This particular cloud of dust would be composed of wireless Micro-Electric-Mechanical-Systems sensors that, as the linked article says anyway, "can detect anything from light and temperature to vibrations."

Maybe I'm one of the aforementioned "paranoid" types, but could that not be one of the more benign applications of this? Imagine being covered between your antipodes by a powder of this kind. Would you even know it was there? What else might it eventually be capable of besides tracking or sensing? Can you imagine inhaling this stuff?

Wait, I have another idea. This might be straying more into the arena of nanotechnology, but if I were to cover myself in this powder on a daily basis, I could send constant updates to ESE. Not just your daily posts, but constant. I see or think of something I want to blog and there it is online. The powder captures what I want and uploads it. Complete with pics.

Beats the "blogging bot," that's for sure.

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