Sick of standing in line at the grocery store waiting for your goods to be painstakingly scanned? Relief may be at hand in the form of printable radio frequency ID (RFID) tags, according to Wired magazine.
Researchers from South Korea’s Sunchon National University, and Rice University in Houston have developed a printable RFID tag that uses ink laced with carbon nanotubes, so the tag can be printed directly onto a product packaging and transmit information about that product to a detector. Instead of having to scan a barcode on each individual product, you may soon be able to simply walk through the checkout and the detector will pick up the signals from the RFID tags and tally your purchases in the blink of an eye.
RFID tags are effectively tiny microchips that can store and transmit information. They are now incredibly cheap to produce and are found in everything from pets and passports to tyres and toll tags. Most RFID tags are made from silicon, whereas these new tags can be printed directly onto a product, drastically reducing their cost.