Dean Takahashi has a lovely little piece on Charles Walton, the man ultimately behind the technology being used at Baja Beach Club here in Barcelona to bill drinks wirelessly. Radio frequency identification (RFID) initially lost out to the barcode and his invention was also turned down by General Motors, which viewed it as too ”Buck Rogers.” But this was really smart stuff 30 years back, still is:

Walton still has a working mock-up of the door lock reader that he used to pitch Schlage. His first RFID card key was passive, meaning that it burned no battery power itself and was awakened when it came within six inches of a reader.

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