Posts Tagged ‘radio’

RFID Chips in School Uniforms Track Students

Saturday, May 10th, 2008

rfid antennaHow would you feel about this: Tracking chips in kids’ school clothing so that school officials can know their whereabouts during the school day?

Oh, it’s happening. Ten students in a secondary school in the United Kingdom are being tracked through RFID implants in their school uniforms in a pilot program. Information Week reports that the kids attend Hungerhill School for ages 11-16 in Edenthorpe, England.

Add the RFID chips to increased video surveillance and fingerprinting of kids, and this is a heavily tracked generation—for safety’s sake.

That extra peace of mind for adults comes with a heavy loss of privacy for kids. Do you agree with David Clouter, a parent and founder of the children’s advocacy group Leave Them Kids Alone, who says taking all these precautions has the effect of treating kids like criminals? Or do you agree with the parents who have OKed the pilot program who do not find it egregiously intrusive?

One possible side effect: Uniform sales may pick up as kids try to procure extra non-RFID-tagged clothing. As security expert Bruce Schneier writes on his blog: “So now it’s easy to cut class; just ask someone to carry your shirt around the building while you’re elsewhere.”

Source: UK Kids got RFIDs

Army’s prototype system uses RFID tags to track weapons use

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

Commercial versions of the equipment could begin appearing by the end of the year. The prototype was first tested on guns installed on M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tanks. The lab did initial testing on a medium-caliber cannon barrel for several hundred shots. “Putting the prototype on an existing fielded system will allow real-world testing in some of the harshest environments imaginable,” Miner said.

The technology package placed on each weapon consists of a piezoelectric sensor that determines when the weapon has been fired by sensing the recoil, a tiny processor with limited memory to record and store output from the sensor, and an RFID tag to communicate the data to an RFID reader.

Using signatures developed by the lab, the package can record the number and type of rounds fired and even deduce other characteristics from the intensity of the firing, such as strain, acceleration, heat and resonant electromagnetic frequencies, all of which can help estimate the viability of the weapons. (more…)

ZigBee™ : An Overview

Saturday, May 3rd, 2008

Zigbee logoZigBee is a wireless network standard defined by the ZigBee Alliance. The ZigBee Alliance is an organization with a mission to define reliable, cost-effective, low-power, wireless networked, monitoring and control products, based on an open global standard. The Alliance provides the upper layer stack which includes the network, application as well as security layer. ZigBee version 0.8, which is based on IEEE 802.15.4, has flexible data transfer which is key-value and message based. It is also low cost and low powered with a low duty cycle. ZigBee version 1.0 was released on 14th December 2004. However the specifications are only available to members of the ZigBee Alliance, with public availability estimated at around mid-2005. Work on ZigBee 1.1 is ongoing.

ZigBee’s short range of around 100m is suitable for many applications such as Home Automation Networks, Home Security Networks, Industrial Control Networks, interactive toys, remote monitoring, computer peripherals and so on. Table 1 compares ZigBee with some other protocols.

Protocol Complexity Frequency Range Data Rate Comment
X-10 Low 120KHz PLC 30bps Proprietary
Z-Wave Low 868/915MHz 30-120m 9.6kbps Proprietary
Bluetooth High 2.4GHz ~10m 1Mbps Expensive
ZigBee Low 2.5GHz


~100m 20-250Kbps Standard

Table 1: ZigBee and other protocols