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Wearable Sensors, Brain Stimulation and Invisible Tags: Review of RAIN RFID Research from 2018 to 2020
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中文版 Chinese version
Three years ago I wrote a blog article about RFID research published in 2017.

Now it feels like a good time to take a look at the research front again.

  • Have the research themes changed?
  • What are the new hot topics?
  • What should be expected for commercial use in the upcoming years?

First, a disclaimer: The selection of the introduced research papers and overview is my own. Summaries of the articles are short and written from my personal perspective. The points I raise are not necessarily the same as the authors’ intentions. When you find the topic interesting, I recommend clicking the link and reading the whole article.

I started the analysis by looking at the headlines of RFID research articles found in Google scholar, published in 2018 – 2020. I did a word count analysis of the headlines. The word count analysis gave me an idea of the research themes. Here is my take on the RFID research.

Wearable tags

A lot is going on around Wearable tags. This seems to indicate that RAIN RFID tags will be embedded in clothing and apparel in increasing numbers. The RFID applications should be designed to take these “out of system” tags to account.

Wearable tags will become more common

Sensor tags

An on-going research topic is Sensor Tags. Using RAIN RFID as a means for transmitting information, almost anything can be sensed with RAIN RFID sensors. The trick is to find applications where RAIN RFID brings some unique benefit or a better fit to the application than other data transmission methods.

RAIN RFID tag’s backscatter signal strength changes when tag tilt angle changes, or when tag is exposed to different chemicals.

RFID in health and wellness

Health and wellness is an interesting and growingly versatile research area.

Wireless might work better

Printed Antennas, miniaturization, graphene, and specialty tags

Other hot research topics include printed antennas, tag miniaturization and graphene, and specialty tags

Author’s vision of an invisible tag attached to a window

RFID has a bright future ahead

Overall the research topics indicate increasing maturity in the RAIN RFID and NFC technologies. There is no need to study the basic viability of the technology, profitability, or the efficiency of the basic use cases, or common manufacturing methods. Research works at the edges of the technology – and those edges are a good distance away from the everyday RFID and NFC use cases. New research is not needed to prove the RAIN RFID usability in supply chain or asset management in retail, manufacturing, or healthcare. Research is not needed for proving NFC’s suitability to travel tickets, access cards, or as a marketing tool.

Research can focus on “wilder and wilder” sensor integrations, the use of RFID in patient treatments, and other innovative and wonderful ideas out there. Strong research on RFID indicates a strong and healthy long-term future for the technology.

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