Everyone knows what it's like to wait in long lines at the mall, convenience store or the DMV. Thankfully, researchers from Suncheon National University located in Suncheon, South Korea along with Rice University in Houston Texas have been working hard to make long lines something for the history books. The RFID tags they are developing consist of 3 layers filled with a special semi-conductive ink that contains carbon nano-tubes. This is important because the transistors have to be semi-conducting to store information.
Currently, the tags can only store 1 byte of information but with this proof of concept they can add more transistors to achieve a 96 bit memory capacity which would be enough to store SKUs for all items sold in large grocery stores. The RFID tags cost 3 cents per package to print which is considerably less than silicon tags that are around 50 cents per package. They can also do things that silicon tags can't like store and provide information about product freshness and how long it has been on the shelf. Researchers predict that the cost of their RFIDs if printed directly on the package would fall to 1 cent per package.
James M. Tour of Rice University said, "You could run your cart by a detector and it tells you instantly what's in the cart. No more lines, you just walk out with your stuff." Some people might be apprehensive about RFIDs in places like grocery stores because they emit radio waves but fear not. Tour also said that you can simply block the waves by wrapping your groceries in aluminum foil.
I remember this being a topic of discussion in a marketing class I was forced to take last year. There was much opposition to this idea because of high costs but mainly due to the fear of what effects the radio waves could have on food items and people with prolonged exposure. These are all valid concerns that I will put to rest right now. Everyday you wake up being bombarded by millions of radio waves from TVs, computers, radios and cell phones etc. These little 3 sq.cm. tags should be the least of your concerns. There isn't any hope for the DMV but at least don't make me wait 35 minutes in line to buy my Publix sub for no reason.