22 June 2006 | Paul Snell
"Intelligent" radio frequency identification (RFID) tags were showcased at a conference in London last month.
Stina Ehrensvärd, vice-president of marketing at Swedish chip manufacturer Cypak, said they were already in use in the pharmaceutical and postal industries.
The tags can identify if packages have been opened en route by triggering an alarm and recording the time and date.
Drug manufacturers are also using the tags to activate an alarm to remind patients to take medication. Patients can also use RFID readers to relay information about the dosage taken and their progress to doctors or pharmacists.
Bill Eccleston, ranking professor of electronic engineering at the University of Liverpool, has researched a plastic version that he hopes will end the industry's reliance on silicon-based tags.
However, delegates at the RFID global partnering symposium were reminded that RFID is an "enabling technology".