Dubai: They're in Salik tags, bus or train tickets, on products that companies want to keep track of — the list of uses of radio frequency identification (RFID) tags is endless.
The technology took a fun twist when a professor from the University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD) and two of his students invented the iPurse, which will ensure that you never lose your car keys, laptop, wallet or even your lipstick again.
"RFID is a very common thing but what's unique about this project is that it's more consumer-based and it's an intelligent purse," said Dr Mohammad Watfa, assistant professor in UOWD's department of computer science, who built the iPurse with his students Manprabhjot Kaur and Rashida Daruwala.
The project is under patent and has already received interest from international companies who want to look at ways to commercialise the invention.
The team thought of the idea when Kaur and Daruwala stated their intentions to base their final-year project around how people could track lost items because they themselves were always losing things.
"Keeping track of lost items is a very common idea but I thought we could use NFC [near field communication] technology with RFID tags for the project.
NFC technology is similar to an RFID reader, which is quite expensive, and acts as an antenna for receiving and transmitting signals to the tags. NFC technology is found on many mobile phone models.
By sticking RFID tags, which are not very expensive, onto your belongings like wallets, car keys or books, the NFC technology in your mobile phone can track what's in your purse and when items go missing.
Watfa and his team also developed an online calendar that can be used in conjunction with Gmail or Hotmail, where you can programme your activities and the things you might need for such events.
"For example, if it's cold and rainy outside and your calendar is connected to the weather centre, it will check whether you have your scarf and umbrella in your purse. If you don't, it will send a message reminding you to take those items," Watfa said.
"If you have a maths class and you need to take a book for that class, your mobile phone will remind you that you need to take it," he explained.
Watfa said that items can also be programmed as high-, medium- or low- priority. "If it's high then you will be reminded if it leaves your purse for five seconds or more. A low priority gives you some time like half-an-hour or one hour."