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Printed Plastic RFIDs Could Speed Up the Checkout Line

Tired of waiting in line at the grocery store? Thanks to a team of South Korean researchers, your wait at the checkout might soon get a little shorter. According to Popular Science, scientists from Sunchon National University have discovered a cheap way to print radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags onto plastic film, rather than the more commonly used and expensive silicon. Ideally, these plastic RFID tags could be used to replace the bar codes found on items at the supermarket and allow the remote scanning of products.

Prior to this breakthrough, RFID tags, which appear in many items like credit cards and passports, cost between 7- and 15-cents to create. Using common methods like roll-to-roll printing, ink-jets and silicone rubber-stamping, the South Korean scientists have pushed the manufacturing cost down to about 3-cents per tag. They believe that, by laying down all the nanotube ink layers at once, the production costs could eventually dip down to 1-cent. But don't expect to see these at your local grocery store just yet. The current plastic labels are about three-times larger than your average bar code. Plus, there are storage and signal issues to confront before the labels can be widely used.

We wish these researchers the best of luck. After all, any way that we can get our Pop Tarts back to our apartments more quickly sounds great to us. [From: Popular Science]

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Tags: barcode, film, printing, research, rfid, science, silicone, top