The term “RFID tag microchip” can refer generally to any sort of radiofrequency identification (RFID) device, since all are based on microchips, or specifically to an implantable RFID tag microchip. There are a wide range of uses for such devices, and new uses are constantly being developed by manufacturers who want to expand their market, as well as people who have thought of new applications for RFID technology. Many hardware or electronics stores sell RFID tag microchips and associated readers, and many products are packaged with such microchips embedded.
RFID involves an integrated circuit, also known as a microchip, attached to an antenna. The circuit can store a limited amount of data and process signals sent to and from the antenna. Depending on the design, an RFID device may be passive, only responding when it is activated by another device, or it may be active, consistently transmitting to anything which can pick up the signal. RFID is used to tag things with unique identities.
An RFID tag microchip can be used for things like tracking store inventory, keeping track of equipment in a large and busy facility, creating automatic payment passes to allow people to go through tolls, and so forth. A small burst of data which can be secured or unsecured is held on the RFID tag microchip and accessed by something which can read it, such as a wand used to scan devices into inventory, or a paygate at a toll booth.
In the case of an implantable RFID tag microchip, the device is intended to be used as a medical implant. The most widespread use of RFID implants is in animals, where implants are used to keep track of herds, tag pets so that they can be recovered if they are lost or stolen, and for the purpose of uniquely identifying laboratory animals. In this case, the RFID tag microchip is encased in nonreactive material and packaged to be small enough that it can be inserted with an injection.
One issue with the RFID tag microchip technology used in animals is that it is not consistent. This is an especially large problem with pets, as a pet microchipped with one technology scanned with another technology may come up as unchipped on the scanner's display. As a result, the pet may not be recoverable unless it also has other identification, or its owners have been diligent about getting a notification with a clear description out to animal control and local veterinarians.