Another use for radio frequency - Denese Rodgers

Let me say up front that I am a nerd. I always have been. I love blinking boxes and tiny keyboards.

A few years back, I worked for a fabric-technology company, and there were three or four of us who monitored emerging pocket technology to see who could get the leading-edge techno-toy before the others. First, it was the PDA (personal data assistant) and then on to pocket computers. We probably spent a small fortune out-geeking each other.

In my last year at Georgia State, one of the classes I took required a paper on emerging technology trends. I picked grid computing, which harnesses multiple computers' downtime to process lengthy extrapolations. I told you I'm a nerd.

One of the other teams chose Radio Frequency Identification RFID. Wikipedia, my nerd resource for information, defines RFID as "an automatic identification method, relying on storing and remotely retrieving data using devices called RFID tags."

Think of it as being "bar coded." I know paranoids who will freak out and believe that the government could use it to track our movements. I personally cannot imagine why anyone would give enough of a hoot to follow me around, unless they just love attending meetings.

Could you use it to locate and isolate the road-rage dangers? We've already got the traffic cameras, so it couldn't be too much of a stretch to ID and tag those who operate dangerously on the freeways. Boy, that'd perk up the evening news.

Being the perpetually perky optimist that I am, I see a whole new side to RFID. We already use it for vehicles and pets: People have been Lojacking their SUV and the family pooch for quite some time. So, thinking in that line, imagine what we could do in our homes?

I have an occasional tendency to misplace my car keys. I would love to go to a central data station in my home and pull up a printout of where my keys (or sunglasses, or checkbook, or ID badge) had hidden themselves.

Guys, think of the stuff in your garage. Tag your tools! As long as they stay in range of the antenna, you'd always know exactly where to find the pliers and the garden rake.

And ladies, you know how nice it would be to know exactly where that one fabulous pair of shoes is hidden? Or the favorite clutch that you need to go with the fabulous shoes?

Ya'll laugh at me, but I'll betcha that we're not that far off from all of that. Moore's Law states that "The number of transistors that can be inexpensively placed on an integrated circuit is increasing exponentially - doubling every two years." That's geek-speak for stuff's a-changing bi-annually.

This RFID technology was first demo-ed in 1973. Think of it, basically in thirty years, we've gone from a prototype to something that is used daily in Wal-Mart.

Oh my goodness, what fun we can start having with dead-beat parents? Track 'em, bring 'em in, and ... tag 'em?

Denese Rodgers is executive director of Connecting Henry, a social-services, networking, community organization in Henry County.