Active RFID tag has a battery, which is used to run the microchip's circuitry and to broadcast a signal to a reader (the way a cell phone transmits signals to a base station). Passive tags have no battery. Instead, they draw power from the reader, which sends out electromagnetic waves that induce a current in the tag's antenna. Semi-passive tags use a battery to run the chip's circuitry, but communicate by drawing power from the reader. Active and semi-passive tags are useful for tracking high-value goods that need to be scanned over long ranges, such as railway cars on a track, but they cost a dollar or more, making them too expensive to put on low-cost items. Companies are focusing on passive UHF tags, which cost fewer than 50 cents today in volumes of 1 million tags or more. Their read range isn't as far -- typically less than 20 feet vs. 100 feet or more for active tags -- but they are far less expensive than active tags and can be disposed of with the product packaging.