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Undergraduate YPEC 2021

UG27-Enabling RFID readers to detect RFID tags on metal surfaces

RFID tags are commonly used in tracking goods. However, one major disadvantage is that readability issues occur when they are placed on a metal surface. This is because radio signals may be detuned or reflected by metal, leading to a reduced read range, false reads, or no reading at all. There are already solutions for creating special on-metal RFID tags that are readable when placed on a metal surface, but for an existing RFID tracking system that does not use such tags, it is troublesome to replace all the tags with on-metal RFID tags. Hence, the goal of our project is to identify an alternative solution, one that would minimize changes in the existing infrastructure of an RFID tracking system. We have designed a device that takes advantage of the waveguide phenomenon to extend the readability of a regular RFID scanner to any desired distance. The dimensions of our device can be customized such that it can be installed on any existing RFID scanner to allow the scanner to detect RFID tags attached to objects that are in motion (e.g. luggage being delivered via an airport’s conveyor belt), regardless of whether it is on or near a metal surface.