June 6, 2008 4:51 PM   Subscribe

I need approximately 20 radio frequency identification tags for an art project, and I need them fast.

I'm working on a set of 20 prints, and I would like to incorporate an RFID tag into each one. I'd prefer the sticky tags that usually come in books -- while they're supposed to be stuck directly on the book, a lot of stores just kind of slip them into the pages. The tags do not have to be active or readable.

Where would I go to get 20 of these on extremely short notice? The prints are due next Thursday. I'd prefer to buy or obtain them locally due to the time constraint - I live in Urbana, IL - but I would get something off the Internet if I could be assured that they would arrive by Tuesday at the latest. I'd like to not pay a huge amount of money for these -- my budget is about ten dollars for the tags, which might not be feasible if I have to buy online. Ideally, I'd like to get them individually so that I wouldn't end up with extras.
posted by k8lin to Shopping (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I've got some old contact-programmable tags that I am loathe to use. I could just mail 20 of 'em to you; they're almost worthless to us and have no data on them. Plus, they're big and ugly with a microchip under a rubber dot if they're intended to be noticable. Mefimail me if you want them!
posted by ulotrichous at 4:55 PM on June 6, 2008

a lot of stores just kind of slip them into the pages - perhaps you could just sweet-talk a few from the manager of a local store, since they're often there for shrinkage control rather than ID of specific products. Especially if this is for a class project, which you can explain. Maybe the college bookstore would even be a good place to hit up.
posted by whatzit at 5:08 PM on June 6, 2008

What whatzit said, or my original idea was to go to a bookstore and grab a bunch of books and page through them looking for tags. But it just occurred to me that it'd be a hassle taking them out of the store. Just go with clothes that aren't baggy so that it's obvious you haven't stolen any books.
posted by gauchodaspampas at 5:43 PM on June 6, 2008

Most of those tags slipped between the pages in books in bookstores aren't actual RFID. They set off the alarm if you try to walk out the door, but they are not able to be individually addressed and don't have any unique codes or serial numbers programmed into them.

That being said, if you want to get 20 of them and walk out without the alarm going off, simply wrap them in some tin foil. The ghetto Faraday cage will prevent the sensors by the door from detecting them.
posted by lockle at 9:19 PM on June 6, 2008

What protocol/frequency RFID tags do you require? There are about a dozen different types.
posted by todbot at 9:37 PM on June 6, 2008

The other question is are you doing this just for looks, or are you wanting them to actually function? If so, you'll need a reader that can both read and program the tags...
posted by barc0001 at 12:00 AM on June 7, 2008

Oh I didn't see you said "The tags do not have to be active or readable." So you don't care about frequency/protocol/etc.

I've had good luck buying RFID tags online from Trossen Robotics. They have a large collection of RFID Tags, and are based near Chicago, which looks to be about a two hour drive from where you are. Not sure if they have a physical storefront though.

But since this is purely for show, not functionality, I say make your own. Find an RFID tag design you like, draw up an array of them into a PDF, take the PDF to a sign maker and have them cut out the design in some gold or silver vinyl that's sticker-backed.
posted by todbot at 12:04 PM on June 7, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for the help, everyone. Unfortunately, I was unable to find what I was looking for -- bookstores have started using a different kind of tag, it seems, and I can't afford the shipping from Trossen Robotics, which does carry what I want -- so I'll have to scrap the idea. While using fake (hand-drawn or photocopied) RFID tags or another substitute like a contact-programmable tag would work, it's just not what I was looking for. I wanted the user of the item I'm creating to have the ability to program the tag later, so it was either the tag or nothing. Thanks again, though!
posted by k8lin at 3:01 PM on June 8, 2008

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