People are surrounded by technology that they don’t understand. Less than a century ago it was unheard of for a household to possess a machine unless someone in the family would be able to repair it should it break down. People today carry so many types of technology that they couldn’t even begin to repair it. In many cases they don’t even stop to think that it is technology in the first place. How many people realize that all those smart cards in their wallets and purses are really a piece of technology?
There are actually two distinct types of smart cards. Most people carry at least one contact smart card with them at all times — their drivers license. They likely also have credit or bank cards, store discount cards, library cards and other membership cards or key tags. These pieces of plastic have embedded data on a magnetic strip or within the card itself that can be read when it comes in contact with the appropriate reader. This means swiping it through a card reader or placing it on a contact pad, such as a work ID badge. Even hotel room keys and other electronic keys work on this technology.
The second type of smart card is the contactless card, also known as an RFID. These contain an integrated circuit that actually transmits an RF signal. As suggested by the name, these types of cards and badges do not need to come in contact with a reader. They simply have to be within the prescribed signal range of the appropriate antenna. This can range from a few feet to up to hundred feet. Because these cards use a circuit, they have a much larger memory capacity and also posses computational capability which makes them ideal for tracking and identification.