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Optical ID
come from:Isis | time:2014-1-22 | views:

- Isis Project No 532

An alternative to ubiquitous RFID technology based on optical systems with clear advantages for applications where power usage, range or security are issues

Marketing Opportunity

According to a recent survey there will be a trillion wireless devices serving a billion people by 2020 (Vision of the Wireless World Research Forum).  The market for active and passive RFID devices is anticipated to reach $10bn by 2010.

While the market applications are growing, RFID technology is not without flaws.  For example,

  • the range of passive RFID devices is limited,
  • RFID technology struggles in metallic environments,
  • RFID is intrinsically insecure, and,
  • encryption of RFID transmission costs device power.

The Oxford Invention

This invention relates to an optical communications transceiver that is simple and robust and provides a platform for optical ID technology.  For selected applications optical ID based solutions are superior to RFID counterparts. For example, optical ID devices can be made which communicate over large distances (>100m) and as a line-of-sight technology optical ID is not susceptible to eavesdropping.

The advantages of the specific Oxford retro-reflector designs are:

  • direction of illumination is not important,
  • simple devices can be powered by the illumination, and,
  • complex devices (say with an embedded sensor) can work on very low power.

Optical ID Tag and Reader

The new technology is idea for a broad range of applications including:

  • logistics tracking in metal rich environments such as container loads in ports,
  • using optical ID rather than RFID for secure passports, and even,
  • monitoring the environment by deploying disposable sensors over a broad area and using a model aircraft coupled with a reader to interrogate the sensors on the ground.