I posted an essay in February 2012 about the barcode that revolutionizes product identification, tracking and marketing. More inventions are on the way, the one emerging is near field communication (NFC) that enhances the barcode. I saw how it worked when I checked out some books at the city library recently.
One requirement for the barcode to work is that you must let the electronic eye see it. This includes swiping your library card through a slid in a device, putting the barcode along the red line representing the electronic eye, or exposing the barcode in front of the machine. The barcode is read one at a time in plain sight.
Things are different now. The electronic eye can read all the books at the same time, even when the barcodes are not exposed. All I need is to stack them up over a designated spot in front of the machine. I did not know about the new technology until the guy standing in line told me that it was NFC. So I googled and found out more.
NFC works on radio frequency identification (RFID). It does not require actual contact or wiring to transmit information between two points as long as they are in close proximity, usually less than 10 centimeters. In the case of book checkout, the NFC code on the book is the passive target point that does not require a battery to work. The initiator point is the electronic eye which emits a radio frequency that powers the target, which then identifies itself by emitting a radio frequency that can be read by the initiator. This is the simplest way of communication between two points. A more complex way is for two initiator points to pass data to and fro, such as cell phone payment to a machine, or data transmission between two cell phones.
So life will be much easier when more things are equipped with NFC capability for there is plenty of data to be passed between people and objects.