Near Field RFID testing in the Tube

December 12, 2007 at 8:30 am | Posted in RFID | Leave a comment

London’s public transportation system is one of the busiest in Europe, and all of the timetables and maps are still provided entirely on paper. This month, however, one thousand riders are testing the new VORTRIX system at the Blackfriars station. Using a phone equipped with an RF reader, passengers get information from ‘smart posters’ containing RFID tags, and located throughout the station. A custom application uses the phone’s web browser to display exactly what trains, busses, and transfers to take in order to reach the right destination. If you don’t enter a destination, it assumes you are from out of town, and suggests attractions and activities you can visit. If the test is a success, they plan to roll out to other stations, and then to integrate an RFID-based system so that passengers can pay for their fare by waving their phone.

Near field RFID is simply a different type of transmission, operating in the unregulated RF band of 13.56MHz commonly used for scientific instruments and medical devices. Near field RF devices have a much shorter range than the more ordinary RFID chips. The maximum distance a near-field device can communicate is about 8 inches. 

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