So many times, the RFID story is tracking inventory, improving sales, keeping track of a cow's milk production, reducing costs, etc. While all of these are interesting applications, this seems like a really "good" use of technology.
All right, maybe this is a silly title for this blog, but I am often driven by doing good things in the world. Often when faced with an important l decision, I weigh the choice in terms of what will do more good in the world. (For instance, I recently signed on to teach a writing class at my local community college. I did this in an effort to help fledgling writers get a good solid start.) With all that said, maybe you can understand why a press release out of UPM RFID caught my eye: "Battling cholera with NFC RFID-tracked drinking water in Haiti." So many times, the RFID story is tracking inventory, improving sales, keeping track of a cow's milk production, reducing costs, etc. While all of these are interesting applications, this one seemed like a really "good" use of technology.
Here's what I learned. Apparently, Deep Springs International (a non-profit in the US) teamed with Nokia Research Center (NRC; Palo Alto, CA) and UPM RFID (Finland) to ensure clean supplies of drinking water in Haiti using near-field communication (NFC) technology and RFID tags.The project was initially born out of an idea by Joseph Kaye at NRC and David Holstius, a Ph.D. candidate at U California-Berkeley's School of Public Health. Nokia supplied 50 Nokia 6212 NFC-enabled phones. UPM RFID supplied UPM RFID tags. Holstius developed the software application for the mobile phones.
Families in some of Haiti's most rural ares were given a water treatment kit, including a 19 liter plastic bucket with lid and spigot. The RFID tags are attached to the buckets for storing the treated drinking water. Each family receives written instructions and a chlorine solution. DSI's water technicians visit the households, use the NFC enabled cellphones to read the tags, ask a series of questions of the household, and then send the updated information back to DSI's headquarters. The parties involved report that the system removes a lot of time-consuming paperwork, enabling technicians to visit more households. DSI reports that this chlorine-based water treatment system has reduced disease by 50%. They also note that if the aid workers do not visit the households regularly, they tend to revert to drinking unclean water, which promotes the spread of cholera and other infections.
So, that's what I mean by using RFID for the power of good. Any other good RFID app stories to share? Sound off below...
No RFID stories to share but I liked your brief article. Is nice to read of a good way to use technology. It leaves a warm feeling at the heart.
This reminds me of another project I read recently in which SMS was being used to rapidly report data of medical assistance provided in under developed countries (i think it was Africa). The innovation here was at the database which received the SMS through a GSM modem and displayed the information with the magic of software.
Perhaps this RFID and NFC enabled phones would be handy for this kind of tasks also.
The emergence of open-source development platforms, developed and maintained by dedicated volunteers, has effectively raised the level of abstraction to a point where nonexperts can now use these platforms.