Along with Proctor & Gamble, Gillette, and the Uniform Code Council (the UPC standards body), MIT is pushing for a new ePC standard for tagging products and the applications of the technology go way beyond making checkout at the grocery store faster. The goal is to build aradio emitting chip into the packaging of every product you buy. This not only eliminates the laser scanning process at the store but enables all kinds of "after-sale" applications once you get home.
Since ePCs can identify products down to the serving size and exact contents, waving your frozen dinner past your ePC-reading microwave might cause it to download cooking instructions and guide you through preparing dinner.
Another possiblity is a smart medicine cabinet that reminds you when perscriptions are about to run out or warns about possibly harmful interactions between medications.
© 2006 Stephen Jones All rights reserved.