Is it true that ₹ 2000 currency notes in India are embedded with GPS chips? Can it be done at all?

Is it true that ₹ 2000 currency notes in India are embedded with GPS chips? Can it be done at all?

Is it true that ₹ 2000 currency notes in India are embedded with GPS chips? Can it be done at all?

Where to begin on this one. This is impossible and ridiculous on so many levels.

Have you ever tried getting your location using just the GPS (no internet connection) indoors? Don’t bother doing it, as it is not possible. One needs to be in the line of sight of GPS satellites for this.

For location determination purpose, a GPS satellite continuously sends 2 radio frequency signals in L1 (1575.42 MHz) and L2 (1227.60 MHz) radio bands. Out of this, only the military has access to both frequency codes. Civilian users have access to only L1 which can give location with accuracy level of few meters at best.

The L1 radio signals are received by a GPS tracking unit or smartphone. 4 coordinates are needed to determine one’s location – three space variables and a time variable.

Hence, signals from at least 4 different such satellites are needed for the processing to find the location. This processing is done by the tracking unit and not the satellite. Satellite’s job is to just transmit the signal. As I said earlier this location has an accuracy level of few meters due to access to only one frequency and the following errors. The Ionosphere is a bitch for radio signals.


I hope now it is clear how complex it is just to get accurate location with a GPS tracking unit.

For a chip in a currency note to be able to do all this it will need a battery (pun intended) of devices which will help in recording and processing the signal and power the processor in the chip. Needless to say all this is not possible yet. Maybe many decades later when we are successful in making such small devices it could be done, but not at present at the required scale. But even then the chip will need to have a line of sight with the satellites to get the signals.

The claims made in those stupid WhatsApp and Facebook posts trumpeting (pun again intended) that the signals will be reflected from the chip in the notes and are capable in underground detection till 120 m are as ridiculous as saying that you can detect a microscopic insect crawling few feet below the ground by shining your pocket torch on it from above the ground and seeing its reflection.

For a rudimentary calculation, you can see this brilliant answer –

Brijesh Kumar’s answer to Is it true that ₹ 2000 currency notes in India are embedded with GPS chips? Can it be done at all?http://ultadin.com/2016/11/12/gps-chips-%E2%82%B9-2000-currency-notes-can-done-brijesh-kumar-assistant-professor-iit-roorkee/

There is something called penetration depth, which is the depth a electromagnetic signal can reach in a material. Even this depends on the conductivity of the material and allows only certain frequencies to penetrate and absorb all others. Even after this, the penetration can be only half of the wavelength of the electromagnetic signal. If all this has not deterred you already, then remember this: Deeper penetration (no, not that you filthy mind!) requires longer wavelength, hence smaller frequency, but spoils the resolution and vice versa.

The stupid posts claim a penetration depth of 120 m, meaning a wavelength of 240 m. This translates to radio waves of 1.25 MHz frequency. Now do you remember the part about the ionosphere? I’ll repeat – the ionosphere is a bitch for radio signals. The maximum ionization in the 1000 km thick ionosphere corresponds to a frequency ranging between 5–15 MHz in the peak of F region, depending on the location and time. Only a frequency larger than this can cross the ionosphere. There are certain phenomena during which the required frequency can reach as high as 50 MHz over a small location. Hence a 1.25 MHz frequency can neither travel from satellite to ground nor vice versa.

Hypothetically even if this is somehow achieved breaking the above discussed laws of physics, the currency in multiple locations will reflect signals in multiple directions which would require many many many satellites to receive them. There are only 30 something satellites in GPS constellation and 7 in the Indian one. Consider this analogy – Can you collect all the rain drops in your town with just few glasses?

At the most the notes can have a chip which can function in a similar manner to bar codes. It can be scanned with a machine which will record the information. In this way the currency could be tracked in financial institutions and other government organizations.

Please do not believe in any such stupid post and do not forward them to others. We have enough nonsense doing rounds on internet.

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