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How Radio Frequency Identification May S…omeday replace store barcodes

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Imagine not having to stand in long checkout lines every time you go to the store. It could soon be possible with the help of Radio Frequency Identification, or RFID, which uses radio waves to automatically identify and track tags attached to objects like packaging. Mechanical engineering professor Liwei Lin of the University of California, Berkeley says that cheaper production of RFID technology could someday allow it to be used ubiquitously.

"Currently, if you go to the supermarket and check out food, or anything else, there is a barcode. And there's a laser scanner at the checkout and the barcode is pretty much just different lines, and it's pretty much free. And the RFID technology is competing with the barcode technology today, such that they have been made extremely cheap, maybe below five cents."

Lin says that RFID could eventually replace the need for laser scanners and barcodes.

"So one day, if you go out of the grocery store, you don’t need to scan everything you’re buying. Once you go to the checkpoint, they already know what you are buying, and give you the price. "

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