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1/19/2007
03:39 PM
Alexander Wolfe
Alexander Wolfe
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If You Like Needles, You're Gonna Love RFID

Some recent news about electronic tracking of cattle, as well as a look at the new James Bond movie, has revived long-repressed fears about vaccinations at the pediatrician.

Some recent news about electronic tracking of cattle, as well as a look at the new James Bond movie, has revived long-repressed fears about vaccinations at the pediatrician.Here's the issue: RFID is being propelled from its initial application of glued-on tags used to track pallets of soap powder destined for Wal-Mart into one where electronic IDs are embedded into bodies. Literally.

Mikey Sklar, a New York City techie-cum-artist, experimented last year with surgically implanting an RFID tag under his skin. Lest you think he's, er, unique, be advised that he'd been joined by at least 20 other people at that time. Now, who knows how many others have mucked with what Mother Nature gave them? (Check out the Tagged RFID Implant Forum where human RFID guinea pigs are trading comments.)

The most recent venture into tag meets mammal comes by way of a St. Louis company, Somark, which has invented a new twist on the plain old RFID tag. It's come up with an invisible, RFID ink, which it says it has successfully stamped on cattle. The ink constitutes a passive RFID tag, which can be read from as much as 4 feet away. It's looking like a potential replacement for the age-old brand. Umm, USDA Choice.

However, what set me off on my original RFID rant was a look at the new James Bond movie, Casino Royale, starring Daniel Craig. (Who, incidentally, has revived the moribund series and is the best Bond since Sean Connery.) In the movie, Craig/Bond is operated on, Mikey Sklar-style, by his masters at MI6. They implant him with an active tag (actually, it looks more like a 50,000-W, clear-channel AM transmitter, but I digress) so they can track him as he chases after the movie's villain, Le Chiffre. (Trying saying that one three times fast.)

What got me on the recovered-memory tack wasn't the insertion of the Bond tag, but its brusque removable. It was cut out, with what seemed like a switchblade, by the villain's henchman after Bond is knocked unconscious in a car crash midway. Crude, but effective: No tag, no trace.

What new-age RFID apps have you heard about? Drop me a line or leave a comment below.

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