Printed Electronics in Supermarkets

Automated alerts
RFID can also automate consumer error prevention. For example, audible or visible alerts can warn when food or medicine is past its use-by date. Some RFID tags use additional electronics so that they can even speak, flash or reveal a written warning. The RFID labels can replace both the printed use-by date and bar code with a more accurate, clear and reliable alternative. MIT advises that RFID can also be used in this way to alert patients, in the home, if contra-indicated medicines are stored together, provided each medicine carries an RFID label.

Developing an online relationship
New rewards or free gifts for consumers could be delivered online. For example, you might be able to download a computer game when you hold your food package up to a sensor on your home computer or you could download the latest best seller when you do the same with your cosmetic package. This is borne out in Japan where RFID-tagged items allow the consumer to access related information and download software via their home PC.

Article by Dr Peter Harrop
Dr Peter Harrop is the Founder and Chairman of IDTechEx (

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