Many of you may have heard that the London Olympic Organizing Committee is going to force athletes to be injected with near field RFID chips to securely access restricted areas, pay for meals and souvenirs and lock and unlock their rooms.
Of course as soon as the announcement came out Friday the privacy advocates were up in arms over it, but they didn’t get the whole story. I spent five years training for the Olympics, was resident at the US Olympic Training Center and did many national and international competitions in my career.
I know this can have a big benefit for the athletes.
The US did not have the budget for the program. That’s why ODIN will be providing RFID tagging of our Olympic athletes free of charge for the US Olympic Team. Before we get the rest of the story, let’s look at the technology of injecting a human with an RFID chip. It’s a very old form of RFID, in fact the same type of technology that is being proposed in many mobile phones today. It is based on a Texas Instruments 13.56 Mhz passive RFID tag.
There are two current ISO standards that are being considered for NFC uses (there is no formal NFC standard in place today, and only recently has an NFC Forum tried to take on this task). NFC readers will be able to interrogate tags can read ISO 14443 and those based on the ISO 15693 standard, provided that the tags employ the NFC Data Exchange Format (NDEF), which sets a common data-exchange format for NFC Forum-compliant devices and tags. Unfortunately both of these standards have very limited read range.
This will keep them from being truly useful beyond payment, and truthfully they will not be much more useful than a bar code or QR code with that short a read range. If we have a longer read range – say three to six feet using RFID tags that were at UHF frequency – then those same Olympic athletes could automatically update each mile during their bike race or marathon run. They could check into or like the opening and closing ceremonies. They could register the number of punches thrown in each boxing match. They could even get recommendations for their diet as they walked through the cafeteria. Many of these long-rnage uses are the cool things that ODIN’s clients are doing today with long-read range RFID tags like Vail Resorts EpicMix, all powered by ODIN RFID Software.