Vorwerk, a German company, is working on a Smart Carpet
system to help robotic vacuums navigate. The system uses radio frequency identification (RFID) tags at
approximately one tag every 1.5 inches square attached to the
underside of the carpet. The robotic vacuum would have a grid map of
all the unique RFID tag codes and an RFID reader so it would be able
to read where it is at any given moment. A robotic vacuum should then
be able to intelligently navigate even remembering which areas it has
missed and be able to go back and vacuum those spots.
Like all good netizens, I am opposed to loss of privacy, in favour of
the right to have PGP, complain wildly about ID cards, and all of that.
Yes, I do read The Register....
...but as a roboticist I have always thought that sticking RFID tags
into everything wouldn't half make a lot of robot applications easier.
Getting a beer from the fridge is much simpler if the can is already
labelled in an easy to read format...
The disadvantage of bar codes is that you then have to have a way of
your robot scanning them. The biorobots in the supermarket seem to have
enough problems! ;) It's all about the orientation. Plus, while you
and I may like a carpet made up of barcodes, the average punter probably
Current RFID tags can have about 2KB of data, though there are plans for
a slimmed down 96-bit version [http://www.rfidjournal.com/faq].
According to wikipedia, GUIDs are a 16 byte number, so no problem there.
The point is that there are supposedly so many possible GUIDs that
there is no chance that any two will ever be the same. Supposedly there
are a maximum of 3.4028*10^38. Well, TBH the chance that there'd be two
the same on the same bit of carpet really can't be that high!
Whether or not that's enough to provide a GUID for [i]every square
foot[/i] of carpet...hmmm.
Okay, via a bit of Googling the Earth has a land area of 1.603008*10^15
square feet. Let's cover it all in carpet! That's a comfortable
margin I'd say. Of course, that doesn't preclude folks building
multi-storey buildings on land and sea.
Plus, any dismantling of gas giants to make Dyson Spheres and lay carpet
on the inside, er... I must get back to work.
Hang on. Dyson Sphere, Dyson's Ball vacuum cleaner.? You don't think
that there could be tiny people living in it do you?