This is my active badge. I wore a badge like this for quite a number of years in the late 80's and early 90's. This is the last one I was issued with. They were designed originally by Roy Want of Olivetti Research.
The badge operates only in specially-wired buildings, where each room and door has an infra-red transceiver to communicate with the badge.
The badge was used to unlock the buildings where I worked and to give out my location. In early days, the unix finger protocol was augmented to give out badge locations, but later the WWW was used. Badge sightings were also used to index multi-media recordings.
To a large extent, people stopped wearing their badges in the office environment once they had a mobile phone.
Copyright 2000 David Greaves.