Friday, June 22, 2007

Jeans and a Minority Report Moment

I was putting on a pair of jeans and noticed a nylon tag stitched in them, marked "Remove Before Washing or Wearing." The fabric was conveniently marked with a line saying "cut here."

Wondering what that was all about (a desiccant? inventory control?) I grabbed a knife, cut out the tag, and held it up to the light:


Ok, it's an inventory control RFID tag (the rings are the antenna). Not a huge surprise...

But something about cutting the fabric out with a knife, holding it up to the light, and seeing this inside reminded me of the sequence in Minority Report when John goes to a back-alley surgeon to get his eyes cut out and replaced (tracking and identification is accomplished through retinal scanning in the film). After the operation, he's forced to hide, delirious and blindfolded, in a tub of icewater, as the police flood the building with robotic eye-scanning spiders. This description makes it sound a touch hokey, but it's a brilliant terrifying sequence in the film, and an allusion to role of eyes in Bladerunner.

Having worked hands-on with RFID quite a bit, I'm sure someone imagined how easy and "useful" it would be to not print "Remove Before Washing or Wearing" on the tag at all.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have one of those tags, wondering what can I do with it, maybe an FM, WIFI or GPS antenna.