Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)

Generally speaking RFID refers to wireless communication between a transponder and a reading station. Often these transponders can be passive (i.e., battery-less) that generate the power to make a transmission from a carrier wave produced by the reader. That means that the transponders can theoretically last forever and they can be small. For instance, they can be small enough to put on a hummingbird.

One of my custom RFID readers

RFID usually refers to short distance communication. So we don’t use it to track birds over long distances. But if you want to know who is visiting a nest or a feeder–RFID can be a useful tool.

An early version of the Smartfeeder

I started making RFID devices almost 10 years ago when I needed a bird feeder that could dispense food to specific individuals. After a few calls to engineering firms it was apparent that the DIY route was the only way to go that was not cost prohibitive. So after a few internet crash courses in electronics and microcontrollers, the Smartfeeder was born. Since then I’ve worked on more designs and worked with a number of good collaborators who have put my designs to work. Check out these videos to see some of our RFID devices in action: