Fujitsu has developed a radio frequency identification (RFID) tag that can be put through the washer and still come out smelling of roses—or at least transmitting.
The tag, encased in a soft plastic shell, can be attached to any textile and be washed, ironed and pressed at least 100 times and survive, said Midori Taniyama of Fujitsu’s RFID Systems Department. Sample tags are being demonstrated Thursday and Friday at a company event in Tokyo as part of a laundry management system.
At the start of the system is a scanner through which incoming items are passed. The tags operate in the UHF band (at 952MHz to 955MHz) and can be read at distances of up to 1.2 meters. This means tags on all the items in a basket of laundry can be read in a few seconds. From there the garments progress into the washing system.
Fujitsu RFID 
At each stage in the laundering process, it’s possible to place sensors to quickly determine the location of any item. Extending the sensor network beyond washing to the pickup and delivery system creates a complete linen or garment management system.
Trials are already under way with a handful of linen rental companies. Fujitsu will promote the system to any organization that handles a large amount of textile goods, such as hospitals, hotels, commercial laundry services or leisure facilities, said Taniyama.
Fujitsu RFID 
Currently the tags cost around 200 yen (US$1.82), but Fujitsu hopes to bring down this price to about 100 yen within two years with mass production, she said.