A New Breed of RFID Tags: The Future of Barcodes?

While we have often discussed RFID technology possibly replacing barcodes in the future, the future may be sooner than we think. South Korean researchers from Sunchon National University have recently developed a technology for printing RFID circuits on plastic film, meaning the average price of a tag could be less than a penny, down from at least 15 cents a tag.

It is anticipated that this new version of an RFID tag will hit the market this year and will use printed transistors based on carbon nanotubes. The researchers have already printed plastic RFID tags via common industrial methods such as ink-jet printing, roll-to-roll printing and silicone rubber-stamping.

While this development is definitely a breakthrough for RFID technology, there are still problems that need to be resolved with the prototype before it is officially released. For example, the tag is much larger than a standard barcode and can’t store as much as much information. In addition, the power signals are weak and may not work with all readers within a reasonable range. However, these issues are expected to be sorted out prior to the release.

While this new technology does look promising, I am skeptical to think that the new tags will overtake barcodes any time soon.