How to Locate Personal Items Using an RFID Reader and Tags
By John Papiewski
A radio-frequency identification (RFID) based personal locator system can help you keep track of items around your house, or find pets and even children. These systems consist of a handheld electronic tracking device and a set of coded locator tags. You attach the tags to household items, such as car keys or a TV remote control, then program the handheld tracking unit with short descriptions of the tagged items. If you lose your keys, the tracking unit picks up the signal given off by the keys' tag so you can find them.
Read the owner's manual that came with the RFID locator. Pay attention to items such as programming the handheld receiver, the system's indoor and outdoor distance ranges and other published specifications. Note the manufacturer's recommendations for use, such as if the handheld is waterproof or not, operating temperatures and other factors that affect its use in an emergency.
Install the batteries for the handheld locator and the tags. The tags will likely use small button-style batteries, and the handheld will take AA or AAA batteries. If the handheld has rechargeable batteries, plug it into its charger and let it charge for the period recommended in the manual. Attach the tags to your keys and remote control.
Program the handheld according to the instructions in the manual so you can readily recognize each tagged item on the screen. Some systems use global positioning system (GPS) technology to locate tagged items or people anywhere in the world. These may require you to log into a website and register your system's serial number and the tags you want to track. If you have a GPS system, register it now.
Test the system. Set your tagged keys down in one room of your home and go to another room. Select the entry on the handheld unit you created for the keys and follow the directions in the manual for locating the keys. If you need to change any settings on the handheld to make locating items easier, do this now.
Find a place in your home to store the handheld locater and always return it there after you've used it.
- Keep extra batteries on hand for the tags and handheld receiver.
Chicago native John Papiewski has a physics degree and has been writing since 1991. He has contributed to "Foresight Update," a nanotechnology newsletter from the Foresight Institute. He also contributed to the book, "Nanotechnology: Molecular Speculations on Global Abundance."