Memory Spot

Memory Spot is a passive transponder that contains a chip capable of storing large data files such as digital photographs, databases or musical selections. The transponder, which is a sophisticated, short-range RFID (radio frequency identification) tag, can be incorporated into any object and can be worn by a person or animal. Memory Spot is under development at Hewlett-Packard.

The Memory Spot prototype operates at a radio frequency of 2.45 GHz (gigahertz), transmits at 10 Mbps (megabits per second ) and can hold about half a megabyte (0.5 MB) of data. Potential applications are similar to those of other passive systems such as bar code tags and magnetic stripe readers.

Among other applications, Memory Spot could:

  • Be embedded in a hospital patient's wrist band for secure access to medical records.
  • Add digital information to an identification (or other) card.
  • Be attached to a letter or package to include images or other data without taking significant space.
  • Store documentation to go with text, such as corrections or revisions.
  • Be attached to a photograph or other object to add audio content.

A conventional passive transponder allows an external device to identify an object or transcribe data attached to the object. The transponder unit can be tiny. In some systems the information can be sensed up to several meters away. Memory Spot is designed to transmit larger amounts of data than other types of passive transponders but the range is only about one millimeter (1 mm).

Several large corporations have expressed interest in the technology but working models at the consumer level are not expected until a global standard is adopted.

This was last updated in September 2006

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