Agricultural and Environmental Applications of RFID Technology

Agricultural and Environmental Applications of RFID Technology

Rahma Zayou (Faculty of Engineering, Universite de Moncton, Moncton, Canada), Mohamed Amine Besbe (Faculty of Engineering, Universite de Moncton, Moncton, Canada) and Habib Hamam (Faculty of Engineering, Universite de Moncton, Moncton, Canada & School of Engineering, Canadian Institute of Technology, Tirana, Albania)
DOI: 10.4018/IJAEIS.2014040104
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Abstract

RFID (Radio Frequency IDentification) technology bridges two technologies in the area of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), namely Product Code (PC) technology and Wireless technology. This broad-based rapidly expanding technology impacts business, environment and society. The operating principle of an RFID system is as follows. The reader starts a communication process by radiating an electromagnetic wave. This wave will be intercepted by the antenna of the RFID tag, placed on the item to be identified. An induced current will be created at the tag and will activate the integrated circuit, enabling it to send back a wave to the reader. The reader redirects information to the host where it will be processed. RFID is used for wide range of applications in almost every field (Health, education, industry, security, management …). In this review paper, the authors will focus on agricultural and environmental applications.
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2. Rfid Principle

RFID technology hangs on the idea of assigning a unique number to each individual item (object, animal, human being). To setup an RFID system, three main components are required as shown in the Figure 1:

Figure 1.

RFID architecture

  • The tag: also called transponder, is an integrated circuit, commonly referred to as microchip, attached to a minuscule (metallic) antenna. Every tag has its own identifier code that will be used to uniquely identify the item associated to it.

  • The reader: is used to create an interrogation zone in which the RFID tag will be read. It collects information from the tags, filter them and transfer them to the processing unit. In the case of a passive tag, the reader also serves to power the tag up. Moreover, the reader manages the different antennas it is connected to in order to achieve a maximum read rate.

  • The server / host: is the processing part of the RFID system. The host is a computer that runs, in addition to the enterprise application, an application called middleware that is an interface between the reader and the application layer. The middleware, the brain behind the smart system, manages the different readers and instructs each one on how to interact with the RFID transponders. It is also the component that is responsible for communicating filtered events back to the application. The host may be one processing unit or an entire enterprise system composed of servers (web, databases...). The host may be one processing unit or an entire enterprise system composed of servers (web, databases...)

The operating principle of an RFID system is the following. The reader starts a communication process by emitting electromagnetic wave. This wave will be intercepted by the antenna of the RFID tag, generally a passive tag. An induced current will activate the integrated circuit, enabling it to communicate. To transmit data stored in its memory (chip), the tag modulates the digital signal using phase or amplitude modulation on a predefined frequency carrier. The reader receives information and redirects it to the host where it will be processed. Figure 1 explains the principle.

Table 1 outlines a comparison between the LF, HF and UHF.

Table 1.
Comparison LF, HF and UHF
TypeLFHFUHF
  Range : (passive)Few centimetres50 cm6 m
Advantages- Non affected by water
- Non affected by metals
- Frequency use without restriction
- Non affected by water
- Non affected by metals
- Multiple tag read
- Non affected by electrical noise
- Long range
- Standard
- High rate
- Easy to product with low cost (5 cents)
Drawbacks- Expansive
- Noise
- Low rate (70 ms to read one tag)
- Range < 1m
- Less efficient than LF (water and metals)
- Absorbed by water
- Reflected by metals
- limited memory
- interference with many applications
Applications- Animal tracking
- Identification
- Credit card, Access control card
- Passports
- Industry
- Retail Chain

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