Researchers at NASA Johnson Space Center have developed the RFID Tag with Long Range and Wide Coverage Capabilities technology that allows a RFID tag to direct a RFID reader beam signal back in the direction of arrival. This technology requires no added power to provide telemetry for long-range readers by using multiple beams instead of one narrow beam signal. Each of the predetermined number of beams is typically associated with a unique identification number to derive bearing information. This innovation is suited for IC-based RFID tags as well as Surface Acoustics Wave (SAW) tags, which are useful for extreme environments.
The technology improves the ability to obtain telemetry (quantity, location, or sensor information) without GPS over a distant range. When the tag reports its identification, it also provides angular information to the source, which makes this technology useful for navigation and mapping applications. Because the technology provides an estimated angle between the signal antenna and the surface of each tag, the technology is able to triangulate the position of a mobile item identified with a RFID tag. The innovation has commercial applications in construction, oil and gas, seaport/harbor management, Internet of Things (IoT), and many more industries.