About seven years ago, an article in Wired magazine described the grocery store of the future, where every item would be tracked through tiny chips powered by radio frequency energy. The technology would enable retailers to recommend sales based on your proximity to certain items and allow you to check out instantly. Stores would be able to adjust prices on the fly in response to supply and demand.
A flap over RFID arose in 2005 when the U.S. government said that it would require RFID chips in U.S. passports the next year. That announcement triggered a run on the older passports by paranoid tech devotees who hoped to avoid RFID tagging technology.
The movement foundered on consumer concerns, on the price of RFID tags, and on the high cost of installing an RFID infrastructure. Today, near-field communication, a close cousin, is only a blip on the radar of consumer technology. One of NFC’s most ambitious goals is simply to allow customers to pay by smartphone instead of by credit card. Grapefruits, to my knowledge, remain technology-free, as do the rest of your groceries.