RFID Lost Item Locator, Home Inventory Utility

Votes: 1
Views: 12955
Consumer Products
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This invention allows one to locate frequently misplaced items such as a key, that one sock, the remote, etc. It uses a ubiquitous technology, namely, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags. Passive RFID tags (those with no battery) are now in most products we purchase. They are very small and their cost is ever decreasing, being about 10 US cents each or less. The idea is to produce consumer usable passive RFID tags, which can be bought in a pack of 50/100, etc. in the shape of small stickers, about the size of a dime/quarter/postage stamp or even smaller, as is convenient. One shall be able to buy a pack of 50 RFID stickets, just as you would buy a booklet of stamps. There is a user interface device (UID), in the shape of a small tablet computer, with which the user can scan the particular RFID tag, assign it a name (e.g., my car key) and then stick the tag on the item. Thus, the user can make a list of items and add them to the UID as and when required. Also, since most items purchased have RFIDs attached to them, users can read the manufacturer/retailer's RFID on the product and use them for their own identification, without having to restick a new RFID tag. The UID can be placed on a base charging station mounted on a wall or just hooked up to a charger on a table. It can be connected to a computer for more user functions, such as making lists, connecting to internet applications, etc. The UID can also be in the form of an app on a smart phone or tablet. This is because RFIDs use the same 2.45 GHz ISM frequency band used by bluetooth, wifi, etc. Another available band can be allocated to these consumer RFID devices.

When an item goes missing, the user activates a function on the UID or smartphone with the locator app installed, which sends out a beacon. The exact location can be determined using a triangulation method or Doppler radar method, which is done by running an algorithm on the UID's processor. The triangulation can be achieved by moving the UID to and fro while it is transmitting, the onboard accelerometers enable the exact movement and location of the UID in realtime to be registered and the corresponding signals received from the RFID on the missing item allows its location to be triangulated.

With the click of a button, the UID allows the user to get a complete list of items in a room, find out which item is missing, keep track of items lent or borrowed, etc. This would be very beneficial to small business owners, people with lots of stuff, small library/bookstore owners, older people or people with poor memories, etc. The cost of the UID and smart phone app and RFID tags can be brought low by mass production.

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  • ABOUT THE ENTRANT

  • Name:
    Philip Panicker
  • Type of entry:
    individual
  • Profession:
    Engineer/Designer
  • Number of times previously entering contest:
    1
  • Philip's favorite design and analysis tools:
    Pro/Engineer, LabVIEW,
  • For managing CAD data Philip's company uses:
    PTC Windchill
  • Philip's hobbies and activities:
    soccer, motorcycling, reading
  • Philip belongs to these online communities:
    Facebook, LinkedIn
  • Philip is inspired by:
    Nature inspires me. Natural systems are highly efficient in every metric, highly optimized and have multi-purpose functionality. Natural systems use energy very conservatively, they have numerous types of sensors and actuators to interact with their surroundings effectively and efficiently. There is no waste in nature. All products or byproducts have uses for one organism or another.
  • Patent status:
    none