[>Htech] yahoonews: 2500 micron^2 antennaless RFID chips

Alejandro Dubrovsky alito at organicrobot.com
Fri Feb 23 06:18:29 PST 2007


Hitachi shows off powder-sized smart tag

By YURI KAGEYAMA, AP Business Writer Thu Feb 22, 6:45 PM ET

TOKYO - Tiny computer chips used for tracking food, tickets and other
items are getting even smaller. Hitachi Ltd., a Japanese electronics
maker, recently showed off radio frequency identification, or RFID,
chips that are just 0.002 inches by 0.002 inches and look like bits of
powder. They're thin enough to be embedded in a piece of paper, company
spokesman Masayuki Takeuchi said Thursday.

RFID tags store data, but they need to be brought near special reading
devices that beam energy to the chips, which then send information back
to the readers.

The technology is already widely used to track and identify items, such
as monitoring the distribution of food products or guarding against
forgery of concert tickets.

Shown to the public for the first time earlier this month, the new chip
is an improvement on its predecessor from Hitachi b the Mu-chip, which
at 0.4 millimeters by 0.4 millimeters, looks about the size of the
period at the end of this sentence.

The latest chip, which still has no name, is 60 times smaller than the
Mu-chip but can handle the same amount of information, which gets stored
as a 38-digit number, according to Hitachi.

One catch is that the new chip needs an external antenna, unlike the

The smallest antennas are about 0.16 inches b giants next to the
powder-size chip.

There are no plans yet to start commercial production of the new chip,
Takeuchi said.

Invisible tracking brings to mind science-fiction-inspired uses, or even
abuses, such as unknowingly getting sprinkled with smart-tag powder for
Big Brother-like monitoring.

"We are not imagining such uses," Takeuchi said, adding that the latest
chip is so new b and so miniature b Hitachi is still studying its
possible uses.

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