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RFID News Roundup

HID Global intros 'smallest high-frequency direct-bonding technology'; InvoTech, T-Y Group provide tagged-linen system to Miami's Grand Beach Hotel Surfside; Thinfilm acquires Kovio, opens Silicon Valley NFC Innovation Center; Delage protects luxury leather-goods brand via Selinko's NFC solution; Spanish transport company implements NFC ticketing system from Aditium; Phone Halo unveils BLE-enabled tag, app for tracking personal items.
By Beth Bacheldor
Jan 30, 2014

The following are news announcements made during the past week by the following organizations: HID Global; InvoTech, T-Y Group; Thinfilm, Kovio; Delage, Selinko; Aditium; and Phone Halo.

HID Global Intros 'Smallest High-Frequency Direct-Bonding Technology'

A direct-bonded RFID chip (left) compared with a traditional module (right)
HID Global has announced new technology that enables a passive high-frequency (HF) 13.56 MHz RFID chip to be joined to an antenna without the bulk of an added module, such as a housing or additional soldering material. HID will use the process to create its Vigo product line, which it describes as the smallest HF formats available on the market. HID Global's patented direct-bonding process enables precise connection of ultra-thin copper wire RFID antennas to micro-sized chips, the firm reports, allowing the Vigo units to be thinner and smaller than comparable chip-and-antenna combos. The company says it has used direct-bonding technology to place hundreds of millions of low-frequency (LF) chips into a variety of ever-shrinking form factors. By eliminating requirements for added modules, the firm explains, the direct bonding also produces finished units that are more cost-effective. The resulting Vigo chips, compliant with the ISO 15693 and ISO 18000-3 standards, features a 64-bit unique identifier (UID) and 1 kilobit, 1.6 kilobits or 2 kilobits of user programmable memory, as well as 32-bit password protection for functionality and data, and direct bonding of a chip to an antenna. The Vigo units' compact sizes, HID notes, empower designers to embed HF RFID capability into a broader range of card and tag form factors and potential applications, including consumables, brand protection, medical, and on- and off-metal asset tracking. The company is currently integrating the new Vigo technology into a complete portfolio of upcoming micro-sized RFID products that it claims will take HF industrial tags to the next level of miniaturization.

InvoTech, T-Y Group Provide Tagged-Linen System to Miami's Grand Beach Hotel Surfside
InvoTech Systems has announced that the Grand Beach Hotel Surfside in Miami, which opened in November 2013, has installed InvoTech's ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID-based Linen System. InvoTech's system monitors the location of each tagged linen item, the company reports, and is designed to help to lower lost-item costs and provide real-time information regarding linen inventory levels. T-Y Group, a manufacturer of luxury bathrobes, linens and towels, provided the Miami hotel with 50,000 linen items pre-tagged with UHF RFID laundry tags made by Fujitsu Frontech North America. The system also includes Impinj UHF RFID Speedway Revolution readers for all fixed reading stations, and an MC9190-Z handheld reader from Motorola Solutions that is used to monitor and maintain linen storeroom par stocks without the need for hand-counting. InvoTech had supplied the RFID laundry tags to T-Y Group, which then sewed the tags into the towels, sheets and pillowcases, and delivered the linens to the hotel for use prior to opening. According to InvoTech, T-Y Group also provided the Grand Beach Hotel Surfside with a linen inventory data file that instantly updates the resort's InvoTech system. InvoTech installed its Linen System with its UHF-RFID Laundry Cart Reading Station and a touchscreen monitor in the Grand Beach Hotel Surfside loading dock. The reading station is designed to automatically count and record entire carts of both soiled laundry and clean linens from a distance of up to 8 feet away, InvoTech reports. InvoTech also provided its UHF-RFID Linen Inventory Reading Station to monitor linen aging, so that the property can maintain quality-control standards for guests.

Thinfilm Acquires Kovio, Opens Silicon Valley NFC Innovation Center
Thinfilm Electronics, a Norwegian provider of nonvolatile-memory products, announced this week that it has completed acquisition of the technology, intellectual property (IP) and manufacturing assets of Kovio, a Silicon Valley company focused on developing low-cost RFID tags using printable silicon electronics and thin-film technology. Thinfilm has also announced that it has opened the Thinfilm NFC Innovation Center, in California's Silicon Valley. The firm uses printing to manufacture simple integrated electronics, such as labels with integrated sensors, data storage and display screens. Included in the acquisition are more than 200 international patents and patents pending covering electronic inks, Near Field Communication (NFC) and RF applications and protocols, process technologies, devices and circuits, pilot manufacturing capacity of hundreds of millions of units per year, a 60,000-square-foot manufacturing and development site, and Kovio's NFC and electronic article surveillance (EAS) product lines. Thanks to the Kovio acquisition, Thinfilm plans to add a printed NFC RFID interface to its sensor labels, in order to allow the linking of sensor data to applications on mobile devices and/or cloud-based analytics. Thinfilm expects to demonstrate NFC-readable sensor labels by year's end, the company reports. According to Thinfilm, the Kovio technology is the only industry-supported NFC interface in printed electronics, and is supported commercially by Google Android and numerous NFC controllers being deployed in phones around the world. According to the company, the integration of Kovio technology with Thinfilm's products will accelerate the time-to-market for NFC labels, and expands both Thinfilm's manufacturing capacity and its IP portfolio. Future applications could include verifying the temperature exposures of perishable goods, such as food and pharmaceuticals, without heavy infrastructure; the creation of disposable medical tests that can be distributed to remote clinics and homes, with results communicated to medical records via a mobile device; humidity detection in the walls of new construction, to monitor for leaks in pipes; apps for smart appliances that can automatically initiate orders when an indicator says the product quantity is becoming low; patient monitoring with one-time use devices for blood-oxygen levels, pulse readings and other vital signs, and with data gathered with the tap of a phone; and more. More than 20 of the former Kovio team members are joining the NFC Innovation Center, and the core team will build out the facility's competence in design, process development and manufacturing.

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