QR codes are pretty much everywhere we look nowadays. Whether it is on products, in stores or even at the gas pump there is always something to scan. If you have a smart phone you can walk up to one of these codes and use it to download information, coupons and advertisements. It’s a super convenient way to store and transmit data by request, but there is something else on the horizon. It is called the Rectenna. It is an inexpensive device that uses radio waves as a power source and transmits data to a nearby NFC device (like a smart phone).

This is not a new invention by any means. Rectenna have been around since at least the 60’s. The name comes from the fact that the little device contains both an antenna and a rectifier which converts alternating current into direct current.

A study was done to see how much Rectenna would cost to produce. The results were astonishing. They could be produced in volume for less than a penny a piece. That makes them even less expensive than radio-frequency identification tags which do something similar, and as we all know corporations look for ways to cut expenses especially in the economy we live in today.

Of course, if your phone doesn’t have NFC technology then you wouldn’t be able to communicate with the Rectenna. Your phone has to emit radio waves if the Rectenna is going to convert it to direct current and transmit the data. That means if this technology takes off you can expect more and more smart phones to start being designed for NFC.

It really is all about cost. Since Rectennas’ are inexpensive to produce they stand to get a strong foothold in the market. There are already products on the market that are taking advantage of this technology. For example, it can be used in object finders. The labels have built-in chips and antennas that sit flat on whatever you want to be sure not to lose them. An NFC phone can send radio signals that bounce back from the object by helping you to be able to locate it.

Expect to see more Rectennas’ and NFC products in the future as word of the savings gets spread around. In the mean time you will just have to keep scanning codes with your phone to get the information you want.