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RFID Tattoo for Tracking Cattle and Humans

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the one-mammal-is-as-bad-as-the-rest-go-reptoids dept.

Privacy 181

ack154 writes "The Register reports that a St Louis based company, Somark Innovations, has successfully tested RFID tattoos to be used for tracking cattle and other animals. Details are limited for the actual tattoo, but it's said to contain no metals and can be read up to about four feet away. Engadget has some more details on the matter. And yes, the article does mention RFID tattoos are possible for people, specifically the military. From the article: 'The system developed by Somark uses an array of needles to quickly inject a pattern of dots into each animal, with the pattern changing for each injection. This pattern can then be read from over a meter away using a proprietary reader operating at high frequency.'"

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181 comments

Could have just said 'tracking cattle' (4, Insightful)

MECC (8478) | more than 7 years ago | (#17679820)

The poster could have left off the 'and humans' part.

Re:Could have just said 'tracking cattle' (4, Insightful)

solevita (967690) | more than 7 years ago | (#17679854)

From the summary:
the article does mention RFID tattoos are possible for people, specifically the military

It's a sad thing to see - RFID is essentially a stock tracking system, add it to people and you too are stock to be tracked.

Re:Could have just said 'tracking cattle' (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 7 years ago | (#17679890)

... same as serial numbers and bar codes.

I don't see why people get their panties in a bunch over RFID when it doesn't offer anything that we don't already have with bar codes.

Re:Could have just said 'tracking cattle' (5, Insightful)

solevita (967690) | more than 7 years ago | (#17679972)

A couple of brief reasons:

1: Barcodes can't be read at distance, without me knowing about it. If somebody, for example, tried to read a barcode in my passport, I'd know. I wouldn't know if somebody had tried to read a RFID tag in my passport.

2: I'm sure that if the article related to barcoding cattle and soldiers, you'd have received similar comments. To be honest, I don't want RFID or barcodes printed on me for the world to see.

Re:Could have just said 'tracking cattle' (3, Insightful)

mikkelm (1000451) | more than 7 years ago | (#17680212)

2: I'm sure that if the article related to barcoding cattle and soldiers, you'd have received similar comments. To be honest, I don't want RFID or barcodes printed on me for the world to see.


I'd go out on a limb and guess that what he meant was that it was alarmist. This isn't about the use of RFID as such. It's just a new innovation using the technology. Mentioning that humans could be tattooed as well is superfluous and not at all different from saying the same thing about any tracking technology used for animal life. "Barcodes/RFID/generic radio tags/GPS/ect is used to track animals and could be used to track humans, too! Your privacy is at risk!". It'd be slightly annoying to have to read that every time some sort of identification technology was frontpaged on Slashdot.

Re:Could have just said 'tracking cattle' (3, Interesting)

d3ac0n (715594) | more than 7 years ago | (#17680354)

A couple of brief reasons:

1: Barcodes can't be read at distance, without me knowing about it. If somebody, for example, tried to read a barcode in my passport, I'd know. I wouldn't know if somebody had tried to read a RFID tag in my passport.

2: I'm sure that if the article related to barcoding cattle and soldiers, you'd have received similar comments. To be honest, I don't want RFID or barcodes printed on me for the world to see.


Ok, a couple problems here.

1) If you RTFA, you will note that the RFID tag is only readable from "Up to four feet away". Somehow I don't think that really counts as a great distance. You are going to notice if someone walks up near you and starts wanding you to get an RFID signal. In practical applications, the RFID tag is often (although not always) little better than a barcode tag due to interference from nearby radio sources and environmental signal blockage. This is a big reason why it hasn't seen widespread adoption yet. It costs much more than comparable technologies but only adds a small value.

2) In the case of regular citizens, I absolutely agree with you. But for Soldiers the RFID tattoo has a great advantage over the dog tag as it cannot be lost. If it is small, removable via inexpensive laser surgery, and placed on a couple different points around the body, it is useful for identifying bodies that have been badly mangled due to things like bombs, mines, and other explosives.

It also has an excellent practical application for use with criminals, both in prison and out on parole. If you place RFID readers at certain strategic locations, you can go a long way to detecting the presence of, say, pedophiles that have been paroled and are hanging out near a school (assuming you have hidden RFID readers near schools, of course.) Naturally, the law-enforcement uses are very limited, due to the limitations of RFID that I mentioned in the first point. But the uses for identifying soldiers are very practical, and I imagine that we will be seeing RFID used in that manner sometime in the very near future.

Re:Could have just said 'tracking cattle' (2, Insightful)

Nitage (1010087) | more than 7 years ago | (#17680716)

If you RTFA, you will note that the RFID tag is only readable from "Up to four feet away".
I frequently find myself less than 4 feet away from other people - in crowds, in bars, on planes/trains/buses

Re:Could have just said 'tracking cattle' (4, Insightful)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 7 years ago | (#17680734)

If you RTFA, you will note that the RFID tag is only readable from "Up to four feet away". Somehow I don't think that really counts as a great distance.

I think 4 feet is plenty. Someone doesn't have to "wand" you, they just need to walk past you with a reader in their pocket. Also think about readers at entrances to subways, on the "walk" button poll at every street corner, entrances to buildings, on the money collector on the bus, etc.

The whole RFID thing is pretty disturbing when you look at the behavior of governments throughout history, and the behavior of the US government recently. The trend towards tracking and investigating everyone in more and more detail every month is not encouraging at all. I'm not concerned too much about today or tomorrow, but 20 years from now when the cost of readers is $2, and they can communicate wireless to a central reporting system - all in the name of anti-terrorism. I used to think that this was all tin-foil hat stuff, but recent (past 4 years) actions by the government have changed my mind.

GB isn't much better at the moment with tracking cameras everywhere, automated license plate readers, etc.

Re:Could have just said 'tracking cattle' (5, Insightful)

run_w_xcors (1032842) | more than 7 years ago | (#17681332)

GB? When's the last time you looked at all the cameras that are pointed at you in the US? A friend of mine and I were walking around San Francisco and I told him to count the amount of cameras he saw while walking around town. Just about everywhere we went (admittedly, in nice parts of town, not so much in say, the Tenderloin) we could see some form of camera that could possibly be pointed at us. To make matters worse, I got stopped on the street by a crew of people shooting a video for a handheld video camera (only making things worse because it was ironic we were just talking about being recorded in public). Now look at school initiatives to place cameras in all classrooms. Our children are being raised with digital eyeballs on them. When they get older, they won't know any better than having cameras pointed at them. Tin foil hat stuff...heh. Remember when Greenpeace was a bunch of stinky hippies on a boat? Now a former presidential candidate is running around talking about global climate problems. Conspiracies aside, there are tons of information gathering tools in use by the government. At this time the good news is that you're still protected by the constitution, unless of course, an executive order trumps that in times of "emergency".

Re:Could have just said 'tracking cattle' (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#17680738)

"you will note that the RFID tag is only readable from "Up to four feet away". Somehow I don't think that really counts as a great distance."

With the standard reader. Who knows what is actually 'possible'.

Re:Could have just said 'tracking cattle' (1)

Lorkki (863577) | more than 7 years ago | (#17681320)

With the standard reader. Who knows what is actually 'possible'.

It's a passive device attached to a soggy bag of meat. I'd say four feet is pretty damn good already, if it means a reliable reading distance.

Re:Could have just said 'tracking cattle' (1)

apostrophesemicolon (816454) | more than 7 years ago | (#17680882)

so, for point number two above:

To ensure to maximum certainty that a soldier had fallen instead of just losing limbs, there's no better place to put the RFID tag but on the forehead.

and also, since we have criminals and soldiers tagged, why not tag everyone else that are prone to 'potentially disfiguring accidents"? Included in that would be people who rides in cars, public transportation (air, land, water).

I'm trying so hard not to relate this to revelation.

PS. oh, and a person who wants to steal your identity doesn't need to wave a scanner in front of you. Just by being in close proximity with a scanner in a backpack is all it takes.

Re:Could have just said 'tracking cattle' (1)

whargoul (932206) | more than 7 years ago | (#17680906)

1) If you RTFA, you will note that the RFID tag is only readable from "Up to four feet away". Somehow I don't think that really counts as a great distance. You are going to notice if someone walks up near you and starts wanding you to get an RFID signal. In practical applications, the RFID tag is often (although not always) little better than a barcode tag due to interference from nearby radio sources and environmental signal blockage. This is a big reason why it hasn't seen widespread adoption yet. It costs much more than comparable technologies but only adds a small value.


True, you may notice if smoeone walks up and starts "wanding" you, but what you may not notice is the RFID reader integrated into the metal detectors at schools and airports or in the anti-theft devices at the doors of most major retail stores. Imagine some time in the future, when RFID readers have gone down in price, an array of readers on store shelves tracking every movement you make as you shop. I'm not trying to be alarmist, just pointing out how someone doesn't necessarily have to "wand" you to read your RFID tat. But then, if you do get an RFID tat then it's your own fault for setting yourself up for that kind of monitoring - it's not like someone can secretly tattoo you...or can they?

Re:Could have just said 'tracking cattle' (1)

jank1887 (815982) | more than 7 years ago | (#17680982)

is only readable from "Up to four feet away".
a high gain directional antenna with receivers (tranceivers? these are passive, or only semi-active, right?) tuned to the same frequency would get better spatial resolution and standoff range than what is likely present in the standard receiver.
Think of WiFi (std 802.11). normally very local, but with high gain directional antennas, people have used it for long range networking.
Alarmist summary, yes. Misplaced fears, maybe. Incorrect technically, not necessarily.

Re:Could have just said 'tracking cattle' (4, Interesting)

Kozz (7764) | more than 7 years ago | (#17681122)

... it is useful for identifying bodies that have been badly mangled due to things like bombs, mines, and other explosives.

Or it could also be used specifically to TRIGGER bombs, mines and other explosives upon detecting a particular group of persons, or even an individual that matches an exact code.

Re:Could have just said 'tracking cattle' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17681288)

It also has an excellent practical application for use with criminals, both in prison and out on parole. If you place RFID readers at certain strategic locations, you can go a long way to detecting the presence of, say, pedophiles that have been paroled and are hanging out near a school (assuming you have hidden RFID readers near schools, of course.

They could also try it out on illegal aliens they capture, since some of them are recaptured half a dozen times. A string of sensors on the border would be cheaper than a fence, and you need only one repeat customer in a group to find them.

Not that I think there is a chance in Hell of them doing so, I just like watching exciting demonstrations on TV.

You won't notice if... (4, Insightful)

sacrilicious (316896) | more than 7 years ago | (#17681458)

You are going to notice if someone walks up [to within 4 feet of] you and starts wanding you to get an RFID signal.

Sure, one wouldn't notice if someone dressed in an LED clown suit with a megaphone started jumping up and down with a wand announcing, "Please remain immobile, I am about to scan you." But you're not going to notice if there's a reader embedded in the wall of a hallway where you're walking.

Premonition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17681516)

2) In the case of regular citizens, I absolutely agree with you. But for Soldiers the RFID tattoo has a great advantage over the dog tag as it cannot be lost. If it is small, removable via inexpensive laser surgery, and placed on a couple different points around the body, it is useful for identifying bodies that have been badly mangled due to things like bombs, mines, and other explosives.

It also has an excellent practical application for use with criminals, both in prison and out on parole. If you place RFID readers at certain strategic locations, you can go a long way to detecting the presence of, say, pedophiles that have been paroled and are hanging out near a school (assuming you have hidden RFID readers near schools, of course.)
Volley, serve [slashdot.org].

Re:Could have just said 'tracking cattle' (2, Informative)

zombiestomper (228123) | more than 7 years ago | (#17681572)

If you RTFA, you will note that the RFID tag is only readable from "Up to four feet away". Somehow I don't think that really counts as a great distance.
When's the last time you saw a doorway over 4-feet wide? Unless you plan on staying in the wide-open spaces the rest of your life, you're going to be scanned and tracked. All it takes is a simple scanning device and a building entrance. They already have tags and scanners at doors for tracking stolen, they just add a new scanner that tracks RFID and viola`. We track and store that data, throw it into a database maybe link a couple of other databases together and now we know where you are, who you're with and what you're buying--all the time... But you don't care, it's not like you're a criminal or a terrorist or anything..

Re:Could have just said 'tracking cattle' (2, Funny)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 7 years ago | (#17681614)

If you place RFID readers at certain strategic locations, you can go a long way to detecting the presence of, say, pedophiles that have been paroled and are hanging out near a school (assuming you have hidden RFID readers near schools, of course.)
There must be some term coined by now, akin to Godwin's law, that as the length of a discussion increases, the probability of someone using combatting pedophillia to justify their argument approaches 1.

However, unlike Godwin's law, the person who brings up pedophillia usually ends up "winning" the argument, or at least persuading the most amount of people.

Re:Could have just said 'tracking cattle' (1)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 7 years ago | (#17680524)

"We don't need to see your papers or ID. We already know who you are, and where you have been."

Re:Could have just said 'tracking cattle' (1)

TechForensics (944258) | more than 7 years ago | (#17680724)

For cattle at least, this method would be WAY too easy to defeat by placing a brand over the tattoo (assuming you know where to put the brand-- you'd need a reader).

Re:Could have just said 'tracking cattle' (1, Funny)

ElectricRook (264648) | more than 7 years ago | (#17680014)

Actually, I think the people tracked as "stock", would become "Livestock".

Re:Could have just said 'tracking cattle' (2, Insightful)

Goaway (82658) | more than 7 years ago | (#17680132)

It's a sad thing to see - RFID is essentially a stock tracking system, add it to people and you too are stock to be tracked.

How, exactly, do you think the military works? Every soldier is treated as a precious little snowflake?

Re:Could have just said 'tracking cattle' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17680618)

"You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You are the same decaying organic matter as everyone else..."

Re:Could have just said 'tracking cattle' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17679862)

If you read TFA, their secondary target market is for the military, so they want to use it for people too.

Re:Could have just said 'tracking cattle' (1)

MECC (8478) | more than 7 years ago | (#17680134)

If you read TFA, their secondary target market is for the military, so they want to use it for people too.

you missed the joke part - I guess I should have been a little more obvious...

Re:Could have just said 'tracking cattle' (2, Funny)

garcia (6573) | more than 7 years ago | (#17679868)

The poster could have left off the 'and humans' part.

Then it would be a real news site and not Slashdot. They have to keep raising the bar to set themselves apart from the rest!

Should have just said 'and humans' (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17680254)

I think it be daft to have said only "tracking cattle" when there are far more applications which are patently obvious. The first "harmless" use is proposed as soldiers. Next, it will seem logical to track inmates of correctional institutes. Perhaps other behavioral institutes could benefit. Sex offenders. Prison guards. Other security applications.

Then, won't someone think of the children? They'll be far safer if we know where they all are at any given moment.

Plus, it will aid in all types of commerce. Instant checkouts. No more airport shakedowns. Walk inside an entertainment facility (sports arena, porn theatre, anime convention, etc.) and have admission automagically deducted from your available balance.

Followed by inevitable abuse by the powerful. And I don't mean the subtle kind of manipulations you might expect. But the really nasty kind from futurists' novels.

It's possible all the serpent-teasing Christian wackos may turn out to be right about the Mark of the Beast. Even a blind pig finds an acorn once in a while.

Re:Could have just said 'tracking cattle' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17680256)

The poster could have left off the 'and humans' part.

I did.

But Zonk happens to know more about good journalism than both of us.

Why - ultimately people will be RFID... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17680444)

Despite our outrage and opposition....corporations that are not HUMAN will require it. And because our government is basically run by corporations (at this time) we will be "chipped".

eh? (3, Insightful)

Phil246 (803464) | more than 7 years ago | (#17679834)

If its really rfid, the pattern of the dots wouldnt matter since it would have its own chip etc to send a unique id back. Optical patterns are irrelevent with it.

If its a pattern, and using a propriatory ( presumably optical ) reader, this is not radio based tech and thus not rfid.
surely?

Re:eh? (3, Informative)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 7 years ago | (#17679896)

RFID means that they send out a radio pulse with an RFID reader, and they get something back. If the pattern of dots can somehow elicit the proper response on the proper frequency, then it's RFID, whether or not it's in a neat little grain-of-rice-sized microchip of some sort.

I'm not sure whether this can conform to the same specifications as what we normally consider RFID, but it's probably something they can read with radio waves, not an optical scan. Radio wave scanning can detect patterns and stuff too, you know.

Re:eh? (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 7 years ago | (#17679920)

More importantly, if theese tattoos go through the same transformation as my tattoos titties, will I one day be arrested for trying to impersonate Arnold Schwarzenegger ?

Re:eh? (1)

ElectricRook (264648) | more than 7 years ago | (#17680036)

Placing simple radio responding cells (RFID chips ) in a pattern would form an array. The pattern of chips would become an antenna array.

Re:eh?++ (1)

ajlitt (19055) | more than 7 years ago | (#17681750)

Placing three boxes of Cream of Wheat directly in front of your eyes would put them within your field of view. The pattern of boxes would become a field of wheat.

Re:eh? (2, Interesting)

LMacG (118321) | more than 7 years ago | (#17680162)

At the company's website [somarkinnovations.com], they say it is
a proprietary ID system based on a biocompatible ink tattoo with chipless RFID functionality. When applied, the ink creates a unique ID that can be detected without line of sight.

Tattoos as ID? (5, Insightful)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 7 years ago | (#17679856)

Didn't work out so well the last time somebody tried it.

Re:Tattoos as ID? (2, Funny)

Marko DeBeeste (761376) | more than 7 years ago | (#17680072)

When they came for the Jerseies, I didn't protest, because I wasn't a Jersey

When they came for the Angus, I didn't protest, because I wasn't an Angus

When they came for the Herefords, I didn't protest, because I wasn't a Hereford

When they came for the sheep, there was no on left to protest for me

Re:Tattoos as ID? (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 7 years ago | (#17680974)

I wasn't aware that the Nazis experienced any particular problems with their system of tattooing people.

Now if you want to argue that the circumstances surrounding the scheme and the motivation for it were particularly awful I'd be in full agreement. The scheme itself, however, I believe was a success.

*sniff* (1)

ilovegeorgebush (923173) | more than 7 years ago | (#17679864)

Poor cows :(

What good would a four-feet RFID signal be in the middle of Basra? (of course, I know the signal would be routed, but still...not that great really...)

Re:*sniff* (2, Interesting)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 7 years ago | (#17680786)

While I disagree with this idea completely, the one thing I could see as a "benefit" for the soldiers would be to have scanners in the hospitals (mobile and permanent) as well as mobile scanners for medics. Might be useful if someone is badly injured or burned, can't find the dog tags (they blew away!) or something, perform a quick scan, and know that its Gunnery Sargent Hartman (the senior drill instructor!), he is allergic to penicillin, blood type 0-, and has a pin in his leg, so you can't put him through an MRI machine. Of course, you'd have to put it on the chest, or more than one location, in case of a missing limb.

Apocalypse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17679876)

This should get the Revelations nutters foaming at the mouth.

Re:Apocalypse (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 7 years ago | (#17681424)

This should get the Revelations nutters foaming at the mouth.

Well, if you read the posts you'll note that this is also working the other side of the coin: the tin foil hat wearers who claim that Bush is behind this. These are normally the same people who blame the Christians for everything that goes wrong as well.

Ultimately these two groups are the same people with a different outlook on religion but the same type of paranoid hysterics that make the rest of us roll the eyes.

No offense but... (1, Insightful)

KKlaus (1012919) | more than 7 years ago | (#17679892)

I don't really see many additional privacy concerns here, seeing as RFID capsules already have been implanted in people. I guess this tech represents another theoretical vector (to the extent that its cheaper or more durable), but really the whole putting it in people thing and associated privacy issues seems pretty contrived for this issue, and only present to create artificial buzz. Here's a hint, when implanting objects (or dyes, etc) in animals, don't be surprised if those same objects can go in people because - hey! people are animals too.

Re:No offense but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17680772)

So you're basically saying "this has already been done, so why complain"?

How about complaining EVERY TIME it comes up. Doing otherwise could be seen as compliance.

Re:No offense but... (1)

zer0halo (704731) | more than 7 years ago | (#17681156)

I don't really see many additional privacy concerns here
additional is the keyword there. The privacy concerns already exist, since as you mention this has already been done. The problem is that the more it's done, the more "accepted" it becomes, which is a slippery slope towards loss of personal freedom. Of course, any private information about you would only be available to "responsible government agencies" (cough cough), so no worries, mate. Just go back to sleep and everything will be okay. Qui Custodes Custodiat?

Animals! (4, Funny)

nighty5 (615965) | more than 7 years ago | (#17679950)

"Somark Innovations, has successfully tested RFID tattoos to be used for tracking cattle and other animals."

So when does every member of Congress receive their tattoo?

Re:Animals! (1)

niXcamiC (835033) | more than 7 years ago | (#17681318)

"Somark Innovations, has successfully tested RFID tattoos to be used for tracking cattle and other animals."

So when does every member of Congress receive their tattoo?


Yes, and the other animals too, when do they get theirs?

Brilliant (1)

androvsky (974733) | more than 7 years ago | (#17679960)

Just what every military wants, a mechanized, automatic, failsafe way for enemies to detect and therefore kill your troops.

I personally don't predict a lot of RFID tagging in the military.

Re:Brilliant (1)

Sqweegee (968985) | more than 7 years ago | (#17680646)

Connect the reader to a detonator on your IED and walk away... no messy trip wires or switches to give it away.

If more specific ID information can be sored in it, or the database that contains the information to go with it can be stolen, you could target them by rank.

Tracker Nano-bot Swarms (1)

Dareth (47614) | more than 7 years ago | (#17681594)

Remember the lame ass Star Trek Insurrection, or whatever they called it... little probes "tagging" people for transport.

Now imagine them killing people, and homing in on the "tagged" people.

Good for the sheeple (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17680008)

I say we tag everyone apart from those with the hutzpah to refuse. Then us untagged folk can self-identify and conspire to clean up the gene pool.

By any chance (2, Funny)

organgtool (966989) | more than 7 years ago | (#17680034)

Are these tattoos shaped like barcodes? All I know is that if an EMP devastates the United States, I'm going to move to Seattle, join the fight against Manticore and get a chance to meet Jessica Alba (with sexy results)!

mark (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17680050)

*cough* mark of the beast *cough* *cough*

Re:mark (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17680348)

*cough*you took that number by selective services by hand*cough* 6+6+6=18

Note: I know you may not be American, but I just wanted to point out that many things can fit into a generic/broad "prediction". That was just the first one I came up with.

Military/cattle... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17680054)

There's a difference????

Re:Military/cattle... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17680554)

Cattle have not been used in an illegal assault on a sovereign state for centuries. Now that the enemy is Islam, wouldn't pork catapults be the vogue?

I apologize if talk about saving our bacon from the "terrorists" is off topic.

And in case of a large EMP... (1)

ansak (80421) | more than 7 years ago | (#17680070)

What do you expect an antenna (whether chip or tattoo pattern) to do but receive all that EM energy and convert it to a small, localized, but sub-dermal and therefore very painful burn.

Hmmm... I don't think the military want it and I don't think any human in their right mind want it either (Implicit question regarding the sanity of those already implanted intentional).

Who needs to be a so-called "Revelation nutter" not to want to shun this? (And talk about "argumentum ad hominem - abusive" label! not that slashdot has ever been about sane, reasoned dialog <grin>)

cheers...ank

No metal? (3, Interesting)

Cheesey (70139) | more than 7 years ago | (#17680088)

Details are limited for the actual tattoo, but it's said to contain no metals and can be read up to about four feet away.

No metal? This doesn't sound like a radio transceiver at all. Can you make an electronic device without using any metals?

I wonder what it actually is. Glorified barcode?

Re:No metal? (1)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | more than 7 years ago | (#17680754)

It uses very sophisticated materials that can be read using a device that emits electromagnetic radiation in the 400-700nm range.

Re:No metal? (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 7 years ago | (#17681280)

Anything that produces a discontinuity in the refractive index will interact with radio waves in detectable ways. It helps to be about a quarter-wavelength or larger in size, and sizes near a multiple of a half-wavelength can resonate - thus interacting very strongly. But any discontinuity will be detectable.

Synthetic aperture radar techniques would be able to image the pattern in two dimensions. These resolve distance by using a "chirp" - a swept-frequency pulse of significant duration - and can resolve another spatial dimension by coherently combining multiple receptions of a chirp from multiple positions along a line - or receptions of multiple chirps over time from a single antenna that is in different positions relative to the target. This can be accomplished by moving the antenna, moving the target, and/or rotating the target.

Walk by the chirping antenna and the strongly-reflecting "ink" beads cause their two-dimensional pattern to appear in the two-dimensional "unrolling strip" of processed "image" data - where tatooed barcodes can then be recognized by the same algorithms that would recognize a barcode on a box on a conveyor-belt moving past a line-scan camera.

Renewed use for matrix printers! (1)

splutty (43475) | more than 7 years ago | (#17680114)

Just put your arm in one, and tada! You've got your own personalized barcode..

Evolution of tracking. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17680178)

Humans already have multiple tracking methods, fingerprints, dna, phermones, iris identification, and even facial recognition. Most of these aren't useful in tracking and identifying animals. In the past hot iron branding has been the major identification for cows and this is just the natural evolution of that tracking method. If only they can track e. coli laced food this way as well...

Tracking e. coli-laced food is easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17680746)

Just go to your local Toxic Hell^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H Taco Bell.

Mistake for covert ops (3, Insightful)

devnullkac (223246) | more than 7 years ago | (#17680196)

Unless the tattoo is easily and cleanly removable, it would be a mistake to use on the general military population, since tattooed grunts couldn't aspire to covert ops (too easily identifiable).

Re:Mistake for covert ops (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17680604)

One wonders if this tattoo can be removed by laser without more damage to the wearer than with an ordinary tattoo...

Re:Mistake for covert ops (1)

BytePusher (209961) | more than 7 years ago | (#17681336)

I imagine it can be burned off or simply ruined with a higher powered radio frequency burst of the same frequency used to read it. The question is, how high power and what damage would that do to the vict...*cough* I mean person?

Re:Mistake for covert ops (1)

uab21 (951482) | more than 7 years ago | (#17680914)

Unless the tattoo is easily and cleanly removable, it would be a mistake to use on the general military population, since tattooed grunts couldn't aspire to covert ops (too easily identifiable).

TFA states that the tatto can be placed under the hair, without shaving first - it doesn't have to be visible.

Re:Mistake for covert ops (1)

Wateshay (122749) | more than 7 years ago | (#17681218)

You're assuming that the enemy will never develop the technology to scan somebody using one of the RFID readers in order to find out if one is present.

PR (1)

KKlaus (1012919) | more than 7 years ago | (#17680236)

You know you'd think they could have done a better job with their PR. I'm pretty sure identifying tattoos + people are not a winning mix, and I can't imagine trying to convince someone to use one of these. "No its fine! Think of all the other people that have done it before you... of wait... er...."

Re:PR (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 7 years ago | (#17681462)

Synthetic-aperture radar reader technology should work fine with some of the current tatoo inks, too. This just optimizes the ink for maximum reflection to make the job easier and the range larger.

Drawbacks (1)

jwthompson2 (749521) | more than 7 years ago | (#17680248)

Just like sub-dermal microchipping this process is invasive and has the potential for complications such as infection, allergic reactions and other issues. There is still technology in development though to implement non-invasive techniques such as iris recognition which are much more promising long-term in terms of animal identification. Here's a good dutch web site, with mediocre english translation, that details some problems with microchipping in particular: http://www.invisio.nl/antichip/ [invisio.nl]

666 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17680266)

(Read the subject. (Must type body text.))

I'd be more impressed if (1)

Timberwolf0122 (872207) | more than 7 years ago | (#17680330)

They could use the RFID Ink technology to pickup FM radio stations so I might have easy listening jazz stations where ever I go, yeh, cool man.

Reader information (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17680478)

Circle number 666 on your reader information card.

Driver's License Images Online (0)

NutMan (614868) | more than 7 years ago | (#17680730)

Bush & Co. is at it again!

Every day we lose more privacy, and any idiot with an Internet connection has access to our information.

You can find an image of any U.S. Driver's License online at this site: Driver's License Bureau [shorturl.com].

Find your's and click on the checkbox, "Please Remove".

Re:Driver's License Images Online (1)

artemis67 (93453) | more than 7 years ago | (#17681352)

Nutman, you are, indeed, appropriately named.

Nowhere in the article does it state that the US Government has any involvement with this company.

Snow Crash..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17680968)

POOR IMPULSE CONTROL

New ID? (1)

kelarius (947816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17681106)

Depending on what type of info is on this new RFID system, I dont know why this would nessisarily be a bad thing. Im assuming that the RFID tattoo would basicaly just contain a reference number. A scanning system would then connect to a government server and download the information stored there for whoever was reading the scanner. This would allow for provacy protection as Im assuming that the only info that would be on there is info the government already has, (i.e. Name, Age, Birthdate, Address, etc...) most of which is already available on your state drivers liscence which they could ask you for anyways. I just view this as almost more of a convenience thing for us, as I dont like standing in line at airport security any more than anyone else.

RFID to Fight Terrorism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17681286)

Just think if we started a catch and release program with people in Iraq. We could tag them all and record which people are near exploded bombs and sniper fire. If the same people are always near the violence we could take them in for questioning.

One thing that has always suprised me is that Hezzbullah wears masks in Palestine and thinks that will protect their identity. Wouldn't an infrared camera be able to capture the facial structure of people undernearth their masks? I bet Israel has the identity of every masked terrorist there.

redundant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17681400)

human...cattle...same thing

Still suffers from short read-range problem (2, Insightful)

tulsaoc3guy (755854) | more than 7 years ago | (#17681690)

Short-range (less than 4 feet) ways of collecting cattle ID numbers such as this technique all introduce "speed of commerce" issues in the U.S. cattle market. Thousands of cattle filter through U.S. cattle auction markets during sale days. Longer-range, simultaneous-read solutions would be more appropriate. Check out http://www.zigbeef.com/ [zigbeef.com] .
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