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  • Editing Team 18:15 on January 7, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    How Do RFID Readers Work? 

    There are many different types of RFID systems. Readers (interrogators) have different ways of communicating with tags (or, more accurately, with transponders).

    Generally speaking, readers send out a signal and ask tags to respond. Since an interrogator can only communicate with one tag at a time, it needs to go through an algorithm to identify one tag at a time. This is like a teacher asking all new students to stand if their last name begins with the letter A. If five students stand, the teacher then asks the students to remain standing if the second letter of their last name is also A, and so on until only one student is standing. There are different algorithms for different systems.

    Passive tags use energy from the reader to respond. The coiled antenna of a passive LF or HF tag forms an electromagnetic field with the coiled antenna of the passive LF or HF reader. Changes in this field are interpreted by the reader as a one or a zero, enabling the tag to send binary code to the device. Passive UHF tags use backscatter to send a signal over a longer distance.

    Active tags have a power source and broadcast a signal to the reader, which simply has to pick up the waves being emitted and interpret them based on a defined air interface protocol. This protocol is the “language” that tags and readers use to communicate. If there are two passive HF or active tags that employ different protocols from a single reader, then the reader will only be able to communicate with the one that utilizes the same protocol that it uses.

  • Editing Team 17:35 on September 16, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    New York Comic Con Thwarts Counterfeit Tickets via RFID 


    New York Comic Con (NYCC), a pop-culture and comic-book convention which will be held next month at the Javits Center in midtown Manhattan, will use RFID-enabled badges instead of traditional paper tickets in order to thwart counterfeit tickets as well as better monitor and control traffic.

    Each badge contains an NXP Semiconductors Mifare NFC chip to make sure that visitors are not using counterfeit tickets. NYCC staff will use Google Nexus 7 tablets, which equipped with NFC readers, to check badges at all the entrances and exits.

    Attendees entering or exiting the building will be required to tap the Nexus 7 tablets with their NYCC ID badges. Each RFID chip contains only a unique ID number associated with a particular user profile that each registrant provides during the badge-activation process, and a badge’s RFID tag will not be encoded with the badge-holder’s name or any other personal information.

    The data collected through the RFID technology includes such things as the quantity of people entering NYCC, the date and time of each visit, the number of times the badge-holder entered and exited, and which entrances or exits were used.

  • Editing Team 16:00 on September 3, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    “Halloween Horror Nights” Haunted Houses Becomes More Interactive with RFID 


    This year, Universal Studios Florida theme park’s annual haunted houses—Halloween Horror Nights—will use RFID technology to create a whole new experience for visitors seeking for excitement.

    Initially, the experience consisted of walking past “Scareactors” and spooky props inside haunted houses, but during the past few years, the theme park introduced an Internet-based aspect of the event, known as Horror Unearthed, in which players could face online challenges and earn reward points.

    Last year, the Internet-based game was linked to the physical event at the theme park via passive UHF RFID tags and readers.

    Users created an ID and password on the Horror Unearthed Web site. Upon visiting the park, each player could then acquire an RFID-enabled tag linked to the ID. Readers stationed around the park interrogated that tag as the visitor accomplished specific missions, such as making his or her way through a haunted house or finding a specific character using a mobile reader, and the points earned were then added to that individual’s account.

    The RFID features drew such a favorable response that it is again being offered this year.

  • Editing Team 16:29 on August 28, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    RFID Provides Accurate Number about Engagement 

    Pri-Med-West-conference-RFID-blogNumbers can tell a lot. Pri-Med is a medical education company that provides CME to approximately 250,000 primary-care physicians. Steve Varraso, vice president for operations at the company, hopes that numbers can tell the most accurate story possible about how attendees engage with content at Pri-Med West, one of the company’s largest conferences.

    At the conference, Pri-Med organizes demonstration areas and presentation theaters around specific topics on the show floor—so it is important to the company, as well as to exhibitors, Varraso said, to determine what kinds of content engage attendees.

    Last year, Varraso began offering attendees badges embedded with RFID tags. Exhibit hall and educational sessions were equipped with RFID readers to detect when tags were present and collect minute-by-minute information about where attendees were on the floor and who they were.

    The data revealed precisely how many of the attendees visited the show floor (82%), how long they stayed (an average of 2 hours), and whether they came back (more than 3/4 visited more than once, and 1/3 came all 3 days).

    With RFID, Pri-Med was able to give exhibitors a clear picture of where attendees congregated in the demonstration areas and presentation theaters, and whether exhibitors were attracting their target audience.

    Data of 2012 showed a significant drop-off in show attendance after 2:30p.m., thus Pri-Med adjusted exhibition hours this year. The data also allowed the company to advice exhibitors about how they could best staff their booths for 2013.

  • Editing Team 12:46 on August 27, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    Indian Software Startup Plans to Bring NFC to Low-end Phones 

    Software provider iKaaz Software has a plan to bring NFC to low-end phones. The Indian-based startup has come up with two products: a tag that will convert any phone into an NFC-enabled one and a reader that a merchant can plug into his or her mobile phone.

    The NFC tag works like a SIM card, with the retailer linking the tag to the mobile phone number, while the merchant will plug the reader into a mobile phone with the iKaaz app.

    “One reason why mobile wallets haven’t taken off is the very few number of NFC-enabled phones,” said Soma Sundaram, founder and CEO of iKaaz Software. “Only very high-end expensive phones are NFC-enabled. Also, about 80% of transactions are in cash. Even in the card segment, there are just 700,000 (electronic data capture, or cardswiping) machines among some 150,000 merchants in the country. On the other hand, the millions of merchants and consumers already have mobile phones.”

    He added that the technology, which is in the pilot phase with banks and mobile operators, will not disrupt the existing digital wallet services of mobile phone operators.

  • Editing Team 18:06 on August 21, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    RFID System Identifies Drunk Customers before They Drive 

    Pee-Analyzer-Drunk-driving-RFID-blogZouk, a popular Singapore nightclub, has trialed an RFID system which can warn parking attendants not to hand over car keys to drunk customers, in order to prevent alcohol-related traffic accidents.

    The solution is known as the Pee Analyzer, which aims at making it easier to ascertain an inebriated customer’s blood-alcohol level before he begins driving. The trial focused only on men, the company reports, since they account for 90% of drunk-driving arrests in Singapore.

    “Almost every drunk driver thinks he is sober enough to drive, so we decided to catch drunk drivers even before they started driving,” says Sofie Chandra, head of Zouk’s business development.

    At Zouk Singapore, two urinals were equipped with devices that measure the blood-alcohol content of an individual’s urine.

    During the pilot, when a male customers arrived at the club, he was provided with a valet ticket containing an embedded passive UHF RFID transponder. As the customer used the urinal throughout the evening, the sensor in the toilet determined the amount of alcohol in his urine. If the number exceeded the legal limit, the sensor transmitted a prompt via a wired connection to a computer, which, in turn, wrote that information to the customer’s ticket. The sensor then instantly reset, thereby allowing consecutive readings.

    For those possibly unfit to drive, the system displayed an alert on a video monitor above the urinal, stating: “You may have had one too many to drive. Call a cab, or use our drive home service.”

  • Editing Team 12:10 on July 29, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    RFID Prostheses Lets Amputees Take Control of Their Environment 


    Infinite Biomedical Technologies, a Baltimore-based medical device maker from Johns Hopkins University, is aiming at finding innovative breakthroughs to improve prostheses. The company has developed MORPH (Myoelectrically Operated RFID Prosthetic Hand), which uses RFID technology to help amputees to finish their daily routines.

    Several amputees was chosen to test the prosthetic device and provide feedback to the researchers at Infinite Biomedical Technologies.

    “The day I got the prototype, it was a joyous occasion,” said McHugh, one of the participant. “It changed my future. It’s a wonderful feeling to reach for something and have my hand go in the right position. This saves me time and gives me confidence. It replaces disability with ability.”

    Before this test, McHugh tried two types of prostheses: One was cable-operated, and the other was myoelectric, which means it used a sensor to convert muscle movements to electrical signals to open and close the hand and vary grips. Both had limitations in terms of reliability and ease of use.

    That changed last year when McHugh was fitted with a myoelectric prosthesis equipped with a built-in RFID reader. He keeps several RFID tags in his shirt pocket, on his belt and in other convenient locations, and each is programmed to affect a specific position, such as a pinching grip. To get his prosthetic hand to move the way he wants, he simply passes it over the appropriate tag. He is now able to control his right hand, making it easier to put a gallon of milk in the refrigerator and carry out other routine tasks.

    “The power of RFID is that it allows the patient to take control of their environment to whatever degree they want,” says Ananth Natarajan, co-founder and board member of the privately held firm.

  • 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 07:29 on March 28, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    LG’s Patented RFID Cookbook Tells Your Appliance How to Cook 


    LG is no stranger to mixing together patents and white goods and this time it’s trying to bridge the gap between recipes and those all-too-often underwhelming results.

    One of its patents has just been granted, which outlines the idea of two RF tags that would offer food information and appliance specs, with a reader located on a terminal (say, an oven) that would attempt to bridge the gap between the two. This device would then connect to a server, which would return operating details for cooking that specified “food information” on your appliance of choice.

  • 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.

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