First of all, I'm a biologist, so please let me know if this question is being asked in the wrong place. I regularly perform operations on rats and recently stumbled upon the following paper (http://ar.in.tum.de/pub/padoy2008IAAI/padoy2008IAAI.pdf) where surgical activity is classified primarily based on the use of specific surgical tools. I thought this would be a very interesting thing for me to do with my own work and may help me be more efficient with my time. I have a good CS background so the use of the required computational models is not problematic. What is a problem though is the fact that the authors of this paper use manual tagging to identify whether a given tool is being used or not. This seems inefficient; the authors admit this, saying automatic tagging is possible.
I am wondering if anyone can suggest a good way to tag the tools being used? My instinct is to use a simple RFID system, where each tool is tagged and the tool tray could contain a reader. This would allow me to collect a binary signal vector from each tool across the duration of an operation (successful read indicates tool is not being used, failed read indicates that it is). Is this a good approach to my problem? If so, could someone recommend a specific tagging system to use? If not, could someone recommend another approach?
As an aside, this project is for my own edification and enjoyment: it is not a part of my funded research, I am not going to publish on it, and I am not going to sell anything I put together.
Assume that the cost of the sensing system is not a constraint when offering suggestions.