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Recent years have witnessed the wide adoption of the RFID technology in many important application domains including logistics, inventory, retailing, public transportation, and security. Though RFID tags (transponders) can be passive, the high power consumption of RFID readers (interrogators) has become a critical issue as handheld and mobile readers are increasingly available in pervasive computing environments. Moreover, high transmission power aggravates interference, complicating the deployment and operation of RFID systems. In this paper, the authors present an energy-efficient RFID inventory algorithm called Automatic Power Stepping (APS). The design of APS is based on extensive empirical study on passive tags, and takes into consideration several important details such as tag response states and variable slot lengths.
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