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Thinfilm Launches OpenSense Printed NFC Sensor Label for Bottles
The Norwegian firm's product comes at the same time that the company prepares the release of an NFC temperature label, and has signed a partnership with Xerox, which is planning to mass-produce contact memory labels using Thinfilm's platform, and is researching an NFC version of the labels.
The inclusion of NFC is a natural evolution from printable memory, says Davor Sutija, Thinfilm's CEO. "We've already demonstrated our integration of memory and logic" that is printable, he adds. The next step, Sutija says, is the addition of NFC transmission capability, making the labels wireless and able to speak with a user's mobile phone or tablet.
Thinfilm's goal is no less than to be at the front of a process to connect everything online—in other words, the Internet of Things. The company was founded in Norway 20 years ago, as a subsidiary of Opticon, to develop plastic memory devices. In 2009, it developed its first printed rewriteable memory intended to be used as part of a manufacturing process. In 2012, the firm released its first printed integrated system that combined memory, sensors, logic and display.
The company also acquired California-based company Kovio in 2014 (see RFID News Roundup: Thinfilm Acquires Kovio, Opens Silicon Valley NFC Innovation Center), and opened a facility known as the Thinfilm NFC Innovation Center in San Jose. More than four years ago, Kovio began offering printed high-frequency (HF) tags compliant with the ISO 14443 air-interface protocol standard. The tags offered 128 bits of memory, and had ICs made with proprietary nanosilicon ink (see Printed-Electronics RFID Tags Debut). In combination with Thinfilm's work in integrated sensor systems and smart labels, the former Kovio product has evolved to become what is now known as the Thinfilm NFC Barcode Tag, which is already commercially available.
The company expects its Thinfilm NFC Barcode Tag will commonly be used to authenticate consumer goods, as well as for tracking toys and games. The tag, Thinfilm notes, could be used in conjunction with software hosted by the company's U.K.-headquartered partner, EVRYTHNG. The cloud-based platform can be used to store RFID-related data and can be accessed by authorized parties reading the NFC labels via the NFC readers built into their phones.
Thinfilm will demonstrate prototypes of the OpenSense tag and Thinfilm Smart Label at this year's RFID Journal LIVE! conference and exhibition, to be held in San Diego, Calif., on Apr. 15-17.
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