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At IEEE RFID Conference, Passive Tags Talk With Each Other, Contact Lenses Help Control Diabetes

The annual event, co-located with RFID Journal LIVE!, has led to technical education, networking and innovation among attendees and presenters.
By Claire Swedberg
May 16, 2013

Since 2007, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has held an annual International Conference on RFID, at which academics and members of the radio frequency identification industry collaborate to solve technical problems, innovate new solutions and probe into the details of how RFID works. For the past six of those seven annual gatherings, IEEE RFID has been collocated with the RFID Journal LIVE! conference and exhibition. Earlier this month, while most attendees at LIVE! 2013 were watching presentations by end users or chatting with RFID product vendors in the exhibit hall, a few were expanding their RFID knowledge at the neighboring IEEE RFID 2013 conference, in the Orange County Convention Center.

IEEE is the largest professional society in the world, with 435,000 members focused on every aspect of electrical energy and its use. Within the organization, there are nine separate societies that include RFID among their topics. In 2007, IEEE instituted an RFID Technical Committee on RFID, which then launched the co-located conference with RFID Journal LIVE!

Intermec's Pavel Nikitin

"Co-locating gives us a balance of academia and industry," says Matthew Reynolds, a faculty member at Duke University, the former CTO of ThingMagic and the chair of the IEEE RFID 2013 event. While 84 attendees at this year's conference were strictly academic, 91 engineers and other industry members from the commercial side of RFID were in attendance as well. Members of the LIVE! conference who signed up for All-Access Passes could also attend programs at the IEEE conference.

The three-day IEEE RFID conference consists of three components: technical sessions and poster sessions, whereby researchers describe new development in RFID technology; tutorials, in which attendees can learn about the technical basics of RFID; and workshops, where academics and industry participants hold focused discussions regarding particular themes.

"I believe that attending the IEEE conference is the best way to see the cutting edge of what's being developed in the RFID arena," says Tim Waggoner, a cofounder of Open Wave RFID, an RFID and real-time location system (RTLS) solution provider based in Chattanooga. (Open Wave designs software for RFID-enabled applications for manufacturers, health-care facilities, laboratories and other companies.) For example, he says, during IEEE RFID 2009, he attended a session titled "Open-Source RFID Software," led by representatives from the Auto-ID Labs at MIT, Fosstrak, Impinj and Pramari (now known as Transcends) that discussed open-source software tools—in particular, Fosstrak's Tag Data Translation (TDT) engine and Low-Level Reader Protocol (LLRP) Commander module (see RFID News Roundup: Fosstrak Releases Open-Source LLRP Software).

"These tools... were invaluable when developing RFID-enabled software for our customers," Waggoner says, explaining that "the Fosstrak TDT module allows a software developer an easy way to convert between different EPC tag representations. The Fosstrak LLRP Commander module allows us to manage LLRP-compliant RFID readers, and to view the actual XML messages that are being sent to and from the RFID reader."

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