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  • Editing Team 17:04 on August 1, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    Application and Problems for RFID Tags 

    tag-RFID-blogThis is happening quickly: soon clothing with RFID tags that let climate controllers know of your preferences in temperature and humidity will be a reality; floors that can monitor foot fall and your presence in the room could have advantages such as for the old — if they fall, the floor can sense it and notify the emergency services. In Japan, RFID tags are fitted in some items of clothing so that when an elderly person uses a pedestrian crossing, it keeps the light red for traffic for a few seconds longer.

    RFID technology eliminates the necessity for line-of-sight scanning as the tag itself contains an antenna that can transmit the information to a receiver.

    Here are some examples of where RFID technology is already being used:

    ■Hospitals insert a tag that contains an identification number which helps to locate the patient records

    ■Off shore oil rigs to locate staff quickly in emergency’s

    ■Smartdust (for massively distributed sensor networks)

    One of the major limiting factors holding back this type of technology has been the lack of enough IP addresses, but with the arrival of IPV6, the next iteration of the Internet, this restriction will be removed. Now, potentially everything in the world could have an IP address. Given that RFID technology is becoming cheaper and more readily available, this is a movement that will not go away. It is the arrival of the Internet of Things. Obviously this may raise ethical and privacy issue.

    Organizations are already struggling with the data they hold now and the phrase “we are data rich and information poor” has never been more correct. We are only going to get more data, but it is just a case of how we use it. So prepare yourself and make sure the data you hold works for you and gives you the insight to help you make quality business decisions.

  • Editing Team 12:04 on July 18, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    Apple NFC Rumors Return 

    Apple-iPhone5S-NFC-rumors-rfid-blogThe next iPhone, the so-called iPhone 5S, is expected to be launched on September. Recently a new round of rumors that the next iPhone will include NFC has begun to appear. The rumors are based on two sources, one in the U.S. and one in China.

    The US source is an anonymous reader of PhoneArena who has told the blog that an entry has appeared in carrier Verizon’s database for “4G LTE nano NFC SIM cards”.

    The second source is Sina Weibo blogger C Technology, who has posted photos of parts of what could be the next iPhone. The lines visible in the lower half of the image are being explained by some as belonging to an NFC antenna.

    What do readers think? Are there any grounds here for thinking Apple might at last be planning to support NFC?

  • Editing Team 09:08 on April 9, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    RFID Helps to Locate Underground Infrastructure 

    3M-caution-tape-locate-underground-infrastructure-RFID-blog3M Company has claimed to have developed an effective way to locate the path of underground plastic pipes and conduits, eliminating the need for tracer wire and test stations and the problems and costs associated with them.

    Traditionally a number of techniques have been used, including tracer wires, but these have limitations. They require power to be effective and cease to operate if broken.

    The company said that its new Electronic Marking System (EMS) Caution Tape “uses a new EMS marker technology embedded into a caution tape for installation near or above the buried facility and helps provide continuous path location.” Technology embedded in the tape transmits a signal to a special reader enabling the precise location and route of the pipe or cable to be found.

    3M says the markers require no batteries and there is no need to hook up an external transmitter or search for access points. The markers work independently so that if a section of caution tape is cut or removed, the other markers on the tape will continue to provide accurate location.

    The tape comes in different versions for different types of infrastructure (water, wastewater, gas, telco). Each uses a different frequency to help reduce the risk of accidentally locating and excavating the wrong buried facilities. 3M says the tape can last for up to 50 years.

    In fact, the tape uses RFID technology, which is finding application in a broad swath of industries. If you’ve ever bought a DVD or a book and seen on the back a label with lots of wire squares one inside the other, that’s one type of RFID tag.

    Those wires are an antenna. The bit you don’t see is a microchip and that’s the heart of the device. A reader placed near the tag creates an electromagnetic field that induces a current in the antenna. This current energizes the microchip, which then uses the same antenna to transmit data stored within it. The reader collects and interprets the data.

    RFID technology works only over short ranges. As the distance increase the power that the tag is able to extract from the reader decreases, reducing the power of its transmission, which in turn has to traverse a greater distance to the reader. 3M’s EMS tape is only good for a maximum of 600mm from the surface.

    Active RFID technology is also available, but this requires an external power source, which would neutralize one of the key advantages of 3M’s tape.

  • Editing Team 23:43 on March 21, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    Taiwanese City Replaces Metal Manhole Covers with RFID Cement Slabs 

    Taipei-metal-manhole-cover-cement-slab-RFID-blogCity workers in Taipei are replacing metal manhole covers with cement slabs buried beneath the road’s surface. With RFID technology, they can easily locate those manholes at a later date. This makes roads safer for scooters and other vehicles.

    Approximately 20% of Taipei’s manholes have been paved over since the project began in 2009. The goal of the Taiwanese federal government is to replace all metal manhole covers across the entire island with buried versions made of cement, and to include an RFID tag with each cover, to be read when necessary by road or utility workers using handheld readers.

    The project uses RFID tags, handheld readers and software that manages RFID-read data and stores each manhole’s GPS coordinates, as well as its tag’s unique ID number, to be viewed by staff members. So far, approximately 35,000 of Taipei’s 175,000 manholes now have buried RFID-enabled covers.

    Statistics from Taiwan Ministry of Transportation Department have shown that in 2008, the quality of the roadway—which can include the slick, uneven surface created by metal manholes—contributed to 17.3 accidents per month. In 2009, Taipei was the first Taiwanese city to launch a system intended to address this problem. The aim is to produce a smooth, even road surface with no exposed metal manhole covers that can create breaks in the asphalt and pose a slippery surface causing tires to slide. To accomplish this goal, the city needed to pave over the manholes. However, when utility workers need to access the holes, they must be able to find them, and that requires RFID technology.

    The city had several requirements. It needed an RFID tag that could be read through the road’s surface, and that would pose no environmental hazard. Moreover, the city rejected the idea of a system that employed RFID readers installed on vehicles to accomplish the reads, and did not want its workers to have to bend over the road to bring the handheld interrogator close enough to read the tags. Therefore, they use an external reader antenna in the form of a wand long enough that workers could plug it into a handheld device and walk over the road without bending over, interrogating any tags embedded beneath the surface.

  • Editing Team 12:09 on February 27, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    Gema Puts Multi NFC Chips and Built-in Keyboard into a Single Tag 


    U.S.-based startup Gema Touch has introduced a new NFC tag concept that makes it possible to produce a range of new types of interactive experience.

    The new technology involves placing multiple NFC chips on a single tag base that are individually triggered when a consumer places their mobile phone on the base and presses a button.


    “Think of it like an NFC keyboard,” says founder and CEO Joanna Rogerson. “Unlike traditional passive NFC tags that are proximity based, since our tags are triggered by the user’s touch, there is no more threat of cross-talk from having multiple NFC tags in close proximity.”

    “We are using standard NFC chips but store very little data on the tags themselves. Rather we store more of the information on the web and just use the tags as a trigger,” Rogerson adds. “The tags are passive, so no battery. We have literally just broken the circuit on the antenna and placed ICs down the tag. We have a couple of different designs on the buttons, but you can just think of them as a pressure sensitive area that, when pressed, completes the broken circuit on the antenna.”

    Currently, Gema Touch is working with a five chip design but, Rogerson says, “we can increase or decrease that button or IC count no problem”.

    Gema Touch’s design has been patented internationally, including design, utility and manufacturing, and an initial short run of fifty tags is now available on a limited edition basis from NFC specialist Flomio. “Everything else will just be sold through us directly,” says Rogerson.

  • Editing Team 18:01 on February 4, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: antenna, laser, , ,   

    Laser Structuring Technology Can Write RFID Tag Antennas in Goods 

    Laser-structuring-technology-tag-antenna-RFID-blogSome RFID label manufacturers and vendors of goods are taking advantage of a new technology developed by German company LPKF Laser & Electronics AG. The technology enables the laser-printing of an antenna and circuit board for RFID transmission.

    LPKF’s Laser Direct Structuring (LDS) technology is said to be able to reduce the size of RFID tags, thereby making the tag manufacturing process less expensive, while also making it possible for a tag to be incorporated directly onto an item being tracked — even if that product’s surface is three-dimensional, such as a ball.

    The LDS process consists of first designing a hard plastic item, such as a hearing aid, automotive part or mobile phone handset; molding that piece of plastic from granulated plastic containing a special additive; and then placing the molded plastic item into a laser machine, which then writes the circuitry onto the part’s surface by activating particles of the plastic additive.

    “The advantage is you can now put circuitry on a three-dimensional part,” states Stephan Krause, LPKF’s LDS strategic product manager, by printing the antenna onto something that may not have a flat surface. “The whole process reduces components, such as screws or glue that would be used to attach a label to a product or asset.” Compared with the traditional method of manufacturing RFID tags, he explains, the LDS process eliminates the need to affix a tag to a part, ensuring that tags will not fall off or lose adhesion.

  • Editing Team 12:51 on February 4, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    RFID Battery-exchange Stations Come to Taiwan 

    Scooter-battery-exchange-station-Taiwan-RFID-blogElectric vehicle manufacturer KentFa Advanced Technology has installed 60 RFID-enabled battery-exchange stations in Taiwan, so scooter operators can trade in their bike’s depleted batteries for fully charged ones. The goal is to encourage the use of electric scooters rather than gas-powered models.

    Nowadays there are more than 8,000 battery-recharging stations in Taiwan, yet using them is often inconvenient, since scooter drivers must drop off their bike batteries at a recharging station and then retrieve them several hours later.

    The Taiwan Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) speculated that it would be more convenient to simply replace a spent battery with a fully charged one, for a fee, at public locations throughout the cities in which the majority of traffic occurs, so it approached KentFa Advanced Technology to develop the recharging stations.

    The station operates similarly to a vending machine, with each machine storing 15 batteries. Each battery stored in the machines has an EPC Gen 2 UHF RFID tag. KentFa’s software stores information about each battery, including its serial number, maintenance record, manufacturer and amperage, as well as the number of times it has been recharged and at which charger this took place. It also stores data regarding the scooter operators participating in the program, including the ID on the card each individual is issued. The station comes equipped with two RFID readers: an Alien Technology ALR 9650 UHF model to read the batteries’ tags, and a 13.56 MHz HF reader to interrogate tags embedded in the ID cards.

    The greatest challenge facing the use of RFID was the highly metallic environment, says Gary Huang, KentFa’s VP. KentFa found reads to be unreliable in the presence of the batteries using traditional patch or dipole reader antennas. Therefore, the firm developed a near-field antenna that is fitted into each rack, with a cable running through a slot to each battery storage area that connects the antenna to the reader.

    To date, the stations have proven popular since they provide immediate replacement of a fully charged battery. By the end of 2014, the company intends to have installed an additional 500 such stations.

  • Editing Team 17:55 on February 1, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: antenna, , , , , , ,   

    CalypsoKey Adds NFC to the iPhone 

    CalypsoKey-NFC-Apple-iPhone-rfid-blogMany people complain about the absence of NFC capability in Apple’s iPhone. NFC technology allows smartphones to do all sorts of interesting things such as share content or make purchases by simply holding the phone close to a compatible device. A new product called CalypsoKey has surfaced that adds NFC to the iPhone.

    The system includes a case for the iPhone, adding NFC technology which allows users to store their entire selection of NFC identification cards inside the Calypso case. Using the device you can unlock doors, check in at your office, or even open your garage.

    Calypso decided to keep things simple, avoiding the use of an app or the iPhone itself, instead providing batteryless NFC data storage in the case itself, so it never needs recharging.

    The case has a 13.56 MHz RFID antenna inside with 1k memory capacity. It also has a second 125 kHz RFID antenna built-in. The two antennas make the case compatible with most RFID-based NFC access points for locking systems. The company doesn’t show exactly how you transfer NFC data to the Key, but does mention it’s compatible with Kaba RFID locks among others.

    The NFC-enabled CalypsoLoop case sells for $119(USD) with the CalypsoRing costing $129. The CalypsoKey versions of the case are only available for the iPhone 5.

  • Editing Team 09:32 on December 18, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: antenna, , , , ,   

    The RFID-enabled Scrabble Board Costs £20,000 

    Mind-Sports-Festival-Scrabble-board-rfid-blogMind Sports is the company behind the “world’s most advanced and expensive Scrabble system.” The company has spent 20,000 pounds ($30,000) to build a custom, RFID-enabled Scrabble board.

    The reason why it cost so much? That’s because there is an RFID tag on every tile and an RFID antenna on every square. The function of these RFID chips is to “read” what is happening on the board and transmit it over the internet for people all over the world to watch it on live.

    The technology allows scores to be calculated instantaneously. The RFID chips monitor the board almost continuously (every 974 milliseconds) and transmit the data via a specially developed software.

    There are 100 letter tiles with RFID tags, 225 RFID antennas (one for space on the 15×15 game board), nine circuit boards embedded under the game board, and seven sensors on every tile tray.

    This is all part of MSI’s Mind Sports Festival, where top Scrabble players from around the world will compete. The high-tech tweaks will make it the most spectator-friendly Scrabble competition ever. Live HD video streams will also be available online.

  • Editing Team 23:07 on September 26, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: antenna, , , ,   

    UHF RFID Adopted in Grand Rapids Library to Improve Efficiency 

    Grand-Rapids-Library-UHF-rfid-blogAfter years of research and development, Grand Rapids Public Library has launched an RFID system this month, enabling it to speed up checkout, track check-in, provide security and manage inventory. The Michigan library believes it is the first public system to adopt UHF RFID in North America.

    Aiming at reducing labor costs and improving efficiency, the library installed a more expansive RFID system at all of its 8 branches. The technology consists of fixed and handheld readers, tags on all media, and software designed by the library’s IT department to manage RFID read data and integrate it with the existing library-management system.

    In the world, HF passive tags are employed if the library has implemented RFID technology. However, since HF tags have a short read range, libraries require a separate security system to track media leaving through the exit, or they must install a large antenna array specifically designed to read HF tags passing through a portal.

    By deploying UHF, a library can have a faster and efficient system, which takes up less space and costs less. With the new system in place, now a pile of books can be read simultaneously. Besides, employees now can use a handheld reader or a portable interrogator on a wheeled cart to locate or count the inventory books in stacks.

    Users only need to place the entire stack of books or other materials on the counter above the reader. Since UHF tags have a considerably longer read range than HF tags, the device can capture the ID numbers of multiple items in a single stack without need to be in proximity.

    If a patron is unable to find a book, he/she can request help from the staff. Workers could then utilize one of the handhelds to look up the book’s location in the Evergreen software. If the book is found not to be where the software indicates it should be located, employees can use the handheld’s Geiger-counter mode to walk through the stacks and pinpoint it.

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