IBM, Philips Look To Replace Barcodes

Philips’ semiconductor unit will make the tiny radio chips that can be stuck on items from clothes to bottles of milk, while IBM will provide the computer services and systems.

According to Reuters, at a later stage the radio tags could also help consumers, for instance when a washing machine will be able to recognize that a bright color piece of clothing has been put in the white wash. RFID chips, which in a few years time are likely to cost a few cents or even less, are thin and small and send essential bits of information about a product to a receiver that can read the signals. The data could include a product description, packaging and expiry dates, color and price. It is a more advanced way to track and describe goods than barcodes, which are now used for most products and inventory systems.