Home > Sensors > RFID Reader in Mobile Phones – Where are they?

RFID Reader in Mobile Phones – Where are they?

RFIDs have been around for quite a while in retailing industry but it has not still hit the mainstream of normal person’s lives, may be except in Japan & Korea  and a few other examples below:

  1. RFID reading phones to debut in October
  2. Paying for your shopping by mobile phone – A reality in 2008

Even though researchers have been working on useful applications on use of sensors and context derived from sensors since early 1990s, under various buzz phrases such as Ubiquitous Computing, Pervasive Computing, Pro-active Computing, Context-Aware Computing, etc., we are yet to see even 50% of RFID enabled mobiles as predicted by one of the market research firms and it is more than a year since Samsung announced RFID reader chip in 2007.

So, what is it that is not encouraging the mobile manufacturers to put the RFID chips? Will we ever see RFID readers in middle category or even low-end mobiles? I think one of the factors is definitely the wide-spread use of RFID tags itself since there is no use of readers without the tags. Without a reasonable ‘infrastructure’ one can expect compelling and useful applications to be successful. But tagging things in the real-world (as opposed to the virtual world) is not easy and not free too and has to be a community effort (just as the social & community based tagging & search is becoming popular in information rich internet world). Until then I guess the popularity & usage of RFID technology will remain isolated in very niche applications.

Actually what motivated me to write this blog, is the quest to monitor & measure the different activities that I do inside my home or mainly those activities which are not done using my computer. This made me to look for a phone which had RFID reader in it so that I can tag the different locations in my home & assuming that I carry my mobile (with the RFID reader) everywhere I roam inside the home, I have a history of the tags that are encountered by the reader. Using a relevant temporal inferencing & learning algorithms, I would be able to sense what is the higher level activity that I was doing and for how much duration. Unfortunately the mobiles have not become small enough (I guess they are there in research prototype forms) to use it like a watch and I could only achieve my dreams only through stand-alone RFID reader and tags. I hope I could achieve that one day & publish the results as another blog entry!

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