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RFID heading to cellphones

RFID heading to cellphones

Presenters at RFID World in Boston on Wednesday focused on using second-generation active and passive radio frequency identification tags to provide advanced security and authentication, as well as ways to broaden the reach of the technology.

Among the buzz from attendees was how the average wireless device could soon become an RFID reader, or perhaps a related radio-capable device for Near Field Communication, a short-distance radio technology to give a mobile user easy access to all kinds of data.

One attendee, Russ Lamer, said he was just starting early investigation into ways that fleet truck drivers could equip their standard cell phones to act as a kind of "speed pass" to quickly pay for fuel at a truck stop, similar to the Speedpass used at Mobil gas stations. Lamer, manager of emerging technologies at Wright Express Corp. in South Portland, Maine, said drivers might also have fuel discount coupons delivered wirelessly to their phones that could be used during fuel purchases.

With some of the mobile payment technologies he is investigating, Lamer said the modern trucker may eventually be able to pay by authorising a credit card via the cell phone. "It makes the most sense" for the cell phone to work as the RFID reader, Lamer said, adding that he is interested in finding which chips could be used to provide the functions and at what cost.

Other attendees said they were dazzled by an MIT presentation last night that showed emerging technologies similar to RFID that would allow someone with diabetes to read his blood sugar level easily several times a day with a cell phone receiving data from a patch on his arm.


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