JAMES KING-HOLMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JAMES KING-HOLMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Supertag microchip. Close-up of the chip on the underside of a supertag - a development of barcode technology that allows supermarket goods to be scanned at the checkout without being taken out of the shopping trolley. The supertag was developed by British company ICL Retail Systems. It consists of a tiny chip combined with an array of printed metal strips that form a radio antenna. Each chip has a memory capable of storing 64 bits, big enough to handle as much information as a barcode. At the supermarket checkout the customer wheels the shopping trolley through an electronic arch that scans the goods with radio waves in seconds. The whole tag is no bigger than a typical barcode.
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