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Smartrac Group and RFMicron to Develop Passive Sensor Tags
Smartrac will offer a new line of EPC Gen 2 passive UHF inlays containing antennas that act as sensors able to detect humidity, pressure and other conditions.
Apr 14, 2014—
Smartrac has announced a partnership with RFMicron to create passive radio frequency identification tags with low-cost and simple, built-in sensors using what RFMicron calls its Chameleon technology. The tags resulting from the new partnership (announced at the RFID Journal LIVE! 2014 conference and exhibition, held last week in Orlando, Fla.) will enable users to read a tag's unique ID number, as well as the pressure or humidity conditions around the tag. Smartrac intends to begin releasing tags using the RFMicron chips for sensor functionality later this year.
Based in Austin, Texas, RFMicron was launched in 2006 by Shahriar Rokhsaz, the company's CEO. The firm spent several years developing chips that offer improved performance and inexpensive sensing capabilities. The result of that work, he says, is a passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) chip coupled with sensing circuits that detect a variety of environmental stimuli. Tags made with this chip will initially feature humidity and pressure sensors, but in the future, they could be used to measure temperatures and include other sensing capabilities as well, such as detecting specific fluids or gasses.
In addition, the tag can share its sensor data with an RFID reader, providing users with information regarding the external environment around a tag.
The potential use cases cross many industries, Rokhsaz reports. For example, he says, a tag made with the Magnus S chip could be installed in tires to measure air pressure, thereby enabling owners of vehicle fleets to determine a given tire's inflation status via a simple RFID read. The same tag, embedded in tires, would also enable the firm to locate a specific tire, by using an RFID reader to search for that tire's unique ID number. In addition, an automotive manufacturer could utilize the tag to determine the moisture content of an object to which it is attached, so that the company could learn, during quality-control processes, if sensitive components were being exposed to excessive moisture levels.
The chip's pressure-sensing capability could be used to measure strain on buildings, bridges and steel, Rokhsaz says, and its moisture sensor could assess conditions that could lead to mold or mildew during construction, such as in dry wall.
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