IEEE+Spectrum+March+2007+-+Hands+On

IEEE+Spectrum+March+2007+-+Hands+On - 18 IEEESpectrum |...

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Unformatted text preview: 18 IEEESpectrum | March2007 | NA www.spectrum.ieee.org PHOTOCREdIT bIOMEdICA l Hands On How radio-fRequency IdentiFi Authorized licensed use limited to: Georgia Institute of Technology. Downloaded on August 3, 2009 at 09:16 from IEEE Xplore. Restrictions apply. www.sPeCTRum.ieee.ORg MaRCH2007 | IEEESPeCTRum | NA 19 photocrEdIt an X-rAy shows amAl grAAfstrAs hAnds with implAnted RFID tAGs. cation and I got peRsonal bY aMaL gRaaFSTRa Authorized licensed use limited to: Georgia Institute of Technology. Downloaded on August 3, 2009 at 09:16 from IEEE Xplore. Restrictions apply. 20 IEEESpectrum | March2007 | NA www.spectrum.ieee.org implant is used to alert doctors to medical conditions, such as diabetes, if a person is admitted to a hospital unconscious. By scanning the tag, doctors can identify a patient and access per- sonal medical information. There are more frivolous uses, too: some nightclubs have used them to let patrons enter VIP rooms and bill drinks directly to their accounts. For my purposes, VeriChip tags had a number of drawbacks. The company requires doctors to register each implantee in a special database. Their tags have a special coating that flesh grows into, locking the tag in place and making its removal dif- ficult and painful. The equipment for reading the tags, priced at around US $600, is difficult to hack. Additionally, accord- ing to approval requirements set up by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, VeriChips tags must be implanted in the upper arm, which is awkward to use with door access and other sys- temsits a lot easier to open your door or unlock your car by waving your hand rather than by wiggling your bicep. VeriChip seemed like an awkward option, so I considered animal tags, or pet chips, which have been around since the late 1980s and which I hoped might be more flexible. Currently, Avid Identification Systems, one of the pioneers in implantable tags, has 19 million to 20 million implanted animalsnot includ- ing livestockin its database. Unlike a collar tag, a pet chip is impossible to lose and hard to remove, and it is far less painful for the pet to receive than an ear tattoo. As a human being, I ran into a couple of difficulties with these chips. The companies that sell the chips also require veterinarians to register each pet that receives one, and I didnt want to ask a vet to lie for me. The tags also have the antiremoval coating, and the $450 tag readers are hard to customize, because they were designed merely with identification, not locks and security, in mind. Not sure how to proceed, I tried a different tactic and started researching ordinary RFID reader hardware. I found a few devices for $30 to $50 that worked with a chip known as the EM4102, which operates at a frequency of 125 kilohertz. I searched for tags to match this hardware and found dozens of them, including access key cards, key-chain tags, and printed-label tags. I also access key cards, key-chain tags, and printed-label tags....
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IEEE+Spectrum+March+2007+-+Hands+On - 18 IEEESpectrum |...

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