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Things equipped with electronic labels having both identification and sensing capability could naturally be turned into digital entities in the framework of the Internet of Things. Radio frequency identification (RFID) technology offers the natural background to achieve such functionalities, provided that the basic physics governing the sensing and electromagnetic interaction phenomena are fully exploited. The sensing of Things is here reviewed from an electromagnetic perspective with the purpose of showing how advanced performance may be achieved by means of low-cost batteryless devices. A possible classification of basic sensing modalities is introduced, and many ideas, at different stages of maturity, are then discussed with the help of examples ranging from the sensing of non-living Things up to the more challenging sensing of Humans.
Date of Publication: December 2010