RFly: Drones that find missing objects using battery-free RFIDs

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RFly is a new drone-based wireless technology that can help companies save billions of dollars in misplaced items and faulty inventory in their warehouses. Consider that the smallest Walmart warehouse is larger than 17 football fields, making it impossible to keep track of all items in the warehouse.

To enable more efficient inventory control, companies have looked into using cheap, battery-free RFID tags which are attached to objects similar to barcodes and which can be read and identified from a distance. However, today’s solutions for scanning RFIDs can only work at fairly short distances of tens of centimeters to few meters— even less if if the RFID is buried under a stack of objects.

RFly overcomes this range limitation and extends the coverage for RFID location-finding and scanning systems by 100x—increasing them from few squared meters to hundreds of squared meters. Its key innovation is a new relay technology which can seamlessly integrate with a deployed RFID infrastructure and at the same time identify the location of every item to within less than a foot (i.e., to its exact shelf in the warehouse).

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