History of RFID Technology

The development history of RFID technology

In 1935 the Scottish physicist “Sir Robert Alexander Watson-Watt” invented the radar detector. The problem was, that it solely could detect the object at a certain distance. So it was also him, who developed 1937 the system called “Identify Friend or Foe (IFF) System”.

Sir Robert Alexander Watson-Watt (1892-1973) is seen here with the apparatus he developed to detect reflected radio echoes from enemy aircraft. His work resulted in a network of radio-receivers along the East Coast of England which enabled the RAF(Royal Air Force) to successfully deploy their aircraft against German bombers.

Sir Robert Alexander Watson-Watt (1892-1973) is seen here with the apparatus he developed to detect reflected radio echoes from enemy aircraft. His work resulted in a network of radio-receivers along the East Coast of England which enabled the RAF (Royal Air Force) to successfully deploy their aircraft against German bombers.

Here a transmitter installed into a British aircraft, detects the radar signal from the ground field and broadcasts a signal back to the base to identify the aircraft as friendly. At that time, the transponders of the time were the size of a suitcase.

History of RFID

History of RFID

Commercial use in the civilian sector began in the 1970s with 1-bit transponders for goods and theft protection. These are the well-known chips on articles of clothing, which have to be removed at the cash registers before passing the exit door of the shop.

Already at the end of the 70s, RFID technology was used not only for industrial applications but also in agriculture, especially livestock breeding, to locate animals.

In the 1980s, RFID technology could be used lucratively in road traffic for toll systems. Today we use the technology almost unnoticed in access controls, fuel cards or as a "keyless" system (immobilisers), etc.

Since passports are now also equipped with an RFID chip, among other things, critics fear data misuse and excessive surveillance of the citizen by this technology.