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Technology Review’s editors selected Yael Maguire as one of last year’s TR35 recipients partly because of his cross-disciplinary bent. Even as the fulltime chief technology officer at ThingMagic, a company which makes the machines that “read” radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips, Maguire still finds time to explore his passion: the physics of computing. Yet, he told us recently, that hasn’t slowed down the growth of ThingMagic or his vision for the future of RFID. And he explains how even technologies that fail help us along the way.

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