Archives for category: Literature

Digging deeper into the different aspects of the RFID technology, I started to get lost with details of protocols and data sheets. The search for RFID taxonomies, which helped me understanding the big picture did not exist. I found three older and smaller taxonomies on specific areas on the RFID technology or certain perspectives on it:

  1. A Multi-agent Architecture for RFID Taxonomy” by Son Le, Xu Huang, and Dharmendra Sharma (2007)
  2. Taxonomy and survey of RFID anti-collision protocols” by Dong-Her Shih, Po-Ling Sun, David C. Yen and Shi-Ming Huang (2006)
  3. A Taxonomy for RFID” by Taimur Hassan and Samir Chatterjee (2006)

But it seemed quite incomplete for the current state of the art of RFID, so I took those three and many other scientific facts (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) I have gathered over time and tried to complement it, to give an up-to-date overview about this field. In order to cope with the many aspects and dependencies of RFID in terms of ubiquious computing and new user interaction possibilities it is really important to understand the big picture (click onto the image to get the whole big overview!):

RFID Taxonomy_overview

Creative Commons Lizenzvertrag
The 2013 RFID Taxonomy by Dario Soller is under the Creative Commons Attribution – Noncommercial – Share-alike 3.0 Unported License.

To me it seems pretty complete for January 2013, but it does not claim to be complete at all. RFID will continue to be a fast developping technology, especially in the near future, so feel free to expand and update this mind map and leave a comment, if you find any kind of wrong classification or you think there is something important missing. Here is the original mind map file (done with Xmind).

Another important part is the special RFID ISO/OSI Layer approach by Son Le et al.. Even though they have a little too much of this business perspective to it. In my opinion it is too early for this kind of business service view on RFID because of the many technological barriers which still have to be overcome. But from the view of communication engineering an own RFID OSI layer model would be really promising in finally getting RFID ubiquitous for everyone:


My 2013 RFID taxonomy doesn’t exactly represent these proposed RFID OSI Layers anymore, but it’s still an integral part of it. One simply has to leave the nodes Development, User Interaction, Security and Protocols away. The Physical and the Communication layers are very closed coupled and a bit overlapping as one can see on a closer look on the 2013 RFID taxonomy.


Three important works by Roy Want:

Universally Composable RFID Identification and Authentication Protocols” is a more theoretical work by M. Burmeister not looking at the physical or link layer issues of RFID but one step further. He figuered out a list of diserable requirements for his universal composability framework protocol design:

  • Efficiency
  • Optimistic Performance
  • Privacy
  • Security
  • Availability
  • Concurrent Security
  • Modularity and Reusability

The actual algorithm is based on communication keys and i.e. pseudorandom number generator techniques. Unfortunately not really straight forward, but secure!

Pervasive Pheromone-Based Interaction with RFID Tags” by Marco Mamei and Franco Zambonelli is a more theoretical work about coordinating activities with objects by leaving little informations on distributed memory aka digital pheromones realized by RFID tags. They distinguish between object tags and location tags. The actual algorithm is a little puzzled out. In short they increment so called hop counters and timestamps, which are stored in the location tags and compared with the ones in the object tags passing by. A critical issue for their system to work, is a fitting evaporation threshold of the stored information. Further it is fundamental how the ratio between the number of tracked objects and the tag storage capacity works out. They studied their algorithm within a computer simulation and some remote toy cars on RFID tag grid. The tested algorithms were proactive vs. parasitic diffusion. A few interessting statements are:

Read the rest of this entry »

Probably the most relevant related work for my thesis was published in the paper “Rethinking RFID: Awareness and Control For Interaction With RFID Systems” by Nicolai Marquardt, Alex S. Taylor, Nicolas Villar and Saul Greenberg, 2010. They built many different paper RFID tags with enhanced functionalities, with which they were able to provide reader awareness and information control to the user. I have rebuilt a few of these paper RFID tags myself (1,2,3,4).

They also list the privacy risks of sensitive personal informations on RFID tags, which are:

  • unauthorized scanning
  • unauthorized location tracking of individuals
  • eavesdropping of authorized communication
  • leakage of biometric data stored on RFID tags
  • hacked RFID deployments
  • cloning of cards

The international panel of the 2008 ACM Conference on Wireless Network Security publish 6 interessting presentation slides about this topic with the superordinated title: “RFID Security and Privacy: Long-term Research or Short-term Tinkering?

Tangible Music Interfaces Using Passive Magnetic Tags” by Joseph A. Paradiso, Kai-yuh Hsiao and Ari Benbasat, 2001. The value of RFID tagged toy figures were mapped to certain parameters of a music software. Different locations and distances of the so called Musical Trinkets produced different sounds. Therefore this is a really good realization of simutaneously read RFID tags, which as well incorporate the distance of each tag, which is not really trivial thing to do.

Mediated Tabletop Interaction in the Biology Lab – Exploring the Design Space of The Rabbit” by Juan David Hincapie-Ramos, Aurélien Tabard and Jakob E. Bardram, 2011. Among others my supervisor built a mediator device, which improves and handles interaction of RFID tagged biology lab test tubes. A small LED grid translates the RFID value of a tag into a Square Code, that is read by the diffuse illumination tabletops (DIT) infrared camera. So at points of interaction, were RFID is still too limited, mediators can possibly fill this gap!?

Antenna Circuit Design for RFID Applications” is a great work on RFID antenna design by Youbok Lee (Microchip Technology Inc., 2003). It provides all the mathematical equations for calculating different parameters for many different antenna and circuit setup designs. Furthermore it sums some other really helpfull tips:

Two tuning methods:

  • Voltage Measurment Method: Set up a voltage signal source at the resonance frequency. Connect a voltage signal source across the resonant circuit. Connect an Oscilloscope across the resonant circuit. Tune the capacitor or the coil while observing the signal amplitude on the Oscilloscope. Stop the tuning at the maximum voltage.
  • Impedance Measurement Method (S-Paramenter): Set up an S-Parameter Test Set (Network Analyzer) for S11 measurement, and do a calibration. Measure the S11 for the resonant circuit. Reflection impedance or reflection admittance can be measured instead of the S11. Tune the capacitor or the coil until a maximum null (S11) occurs at the resonance frequency, fo. For the impedance measurement, the maximum peak will occur for the parallel resonant circuit, and minimum peak for the series resonant circuit.

Relevant parameters for the read range of RFID devices are:

  1. Operating frequency and performance of antenna coils (determined by antenna & tuning)
  2. Q of antenna and tuning circuit (determined by antenna & tuning)
  3. Antenna orientation (determined by antenna & tuning)
  4. Excitation current (determined by reader module circuit)
  5. Sensitivity of receiver (determined by reader module circuit)
  6. Coding (or modulation) and decoding (or demodulation) algorithm (determined by communication protocol)
  7. Number of data bits and detection (interpretation) algorithm (determined by firmware)
  8. Condition of operating environment (electrical noise), etc.

Antenna design for UHF RFID tags: a review and a practical application” by K. V. Seshagiri Rao, Pavel V. Nikitin and Sander F. Lam, 2004:

Work on ultra high frequency RFID antenna design. Used Frequencies bands are 866-869 MHz (Europe), 902-928 MHz North and South America and 950-956 MHz most of Asia. They used a loaded meander antenna for their study about power transmission according to respective distances.First of all they distinguished design requirments into following criteria:

  • Frequency band
  • Size and Form
  • Read Range (EIRP, Object characterisitcs, orientation)
  • Application with mobility
  • Cost
  • Reliability

In order to check their design requirements they created an design process for RFID tag antenna design, which could help me in structuring my benchmark tests:

  1. Select the application and define tag requirements
  2. Determine the materials for antenna construction
  3. Determine RF impendance of packaged RFID microcontroller chip (ASIC)
  4. Identify the type of the antenna and its parameters
  5. Perform parametric study and optimization
  6. Build and measure prototypes
  7. Design requirements met? – No (back to 5.); Yes (Design is ready!)