Radio frequency identification, or RFID, technology, is still in its infancy, with new, innovative uses emerging seemingly every day. While the predecessors of RFID technology can be traced back to transponders invented in the early 1900s and used to identify aircraft during World War II, the dawn of modern RFID devices did not occur until 1969.

That year found inventor Mario Cardullo conceiving a radio transponder equipped with changeable memory. The passive device had a wide variety of uses in the field of transportation; appropriate, as Cardullo was inspired to design the device after speaking with an IBM engineer who was frustrated with a train identification system that used reflected beams of light. Cardullo realized that using radio frequencies could solve many of the problems associated with light transmission, such as dirty reflectors rendering the system inoperable. (1)

Even at this early stage, the potential applications for RFID technology were widely realized, at least by Cardullo. The inventor’s original business plan included suggestions for automatic tolls, vehicle monitoring and electronic license plates. Other potential uses included applications in the fields of banking, security and health care.

Some of Cardullo’s original ideas have been implemented only recently; users of EZ Pass and its brethren appreciate the use of RFID tags that enable them to pass through tolls without change. RFID tags are also being used in innovative systems that link credit card information to RFID tags and readers, so you can purchase items with your cell phone. RFID tracking can even be used for shopping loyalty programs, so you can give your key chain a rest.

In the realm of RFID tracking and technology, the only limit is the imagination. Innovative uses are just an epiphany away, and RFID technology is powerful enough to change your life in ways you might not have even realized were possible.