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RFID News Roundup

Trimble shrinks UHF RFID reader module ••• SweetWater 420 Fest employs Vendini's RFID system for ticketing, access control ••• Mobile airline boarding passes on the rise, delaying the transition to NFC, study finds. ••• TexTrace joins global RAIN RFID Alliance ••• Transcends releases new version of open-source RFID middleware.
By Beth Bacheldor
Mar 19, 2015

The following are news announcements made during the past week by the following organizations: Trimble; Vendini; Juniper Research; TexTrace, RAIN RFID Alliance; and Transcends.

Trimble Shrinks UHF RFID Reader Module

Trimble's ThingMagic division has introduced the ThingMagic Nano, an embeddable ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID module the size of a postage stamp.

ThingMagic Nano
The Nano, which measures just 22 millimeters by 26 millimeters by 3.0 millimeters (0.866 inch by 1.024 inch by 0.118 inch), is the smallest reader that ThingMagic makes. According to Trimble, its very low-power consumption and wide RF output range (0 dBm to +27 dBm) make it suitable for the read-write requirements for battery-operated RFID-enabled printers, tag commissioning stations, product authentication and access-control readers. The Nano, the company reports, can read tags from up to 10 feet away, at a rate of up to 200 tags per second. The module features a surface-mount package designed for the efficiency of surface-mount technology (SMT) manufacturing—which, according to Trimble, drives down the total cost for embedding RFID in volume applications, including handheld devices, consumables authentication, device configuration and access control.

Keonn Technologies, a manufacturer of RFID-based systems and components for a broad range of industries, including retail, health care, libraries and logistics, is using the ThingMagic Nano in its products. "The performance for such a small form factor is ideal," said Ramir De Porrata-Doria, Keonn Technologies' CEO, in a prepared statement, "and we love the flexibility of the solution. Because we have designed other products with ThingMagic's M6e series modules, the transition to build in this new, smaller module was seamless and enables us to expand our portfolio to include smaller readers."

With the addition of the Nano, Trimble reports, ThingMagic offers reader modules in several configurations, allowing customers to develop a variety of applications, ranging from high performance to small form factor, depending on their specific needs. In addition, the company says, customers who have already developed a solution using a module in the M6e series can take advantage of ThingMagic's universal application programming interface (API) when developing a new reader with the ThingMagic Nano.

In addition to the Nano, ThingMagic's embedded reader series includes the M6e, the Micro and the Micro-LTE. The M6e, which has four antenna ports, is designed to meet the requirements of the most demanding fixed-position multi-antenna reader applications, the company indicates; it transmits up to +31.5 dBm and can read more than 750 tags per second. The two-port Micro and Micro-LTE are designed for portable or handheld applications; the Micro reads more than 750 tags per second, while the Micro-LTE is optimized for applications with small tag populations that require a read rate of no more than 50 tags per second. Both have an RF power output range of -5 to +30 dBm. In addition, the adjustable power consumption settings of the Micro and Micro-LTE models provide extended battery life for handheld readers and other mobile devices, according to Trimble.

Development tools available with all ThingMagic RFID modules include the ThingMagic Universal Reader Assistant utility, used to initialize readers and perform common tasks such as selecting application-specific performance settings; the Mercury API Software Development Kit (SDK), with sample applications and source code to help developers get started demonstrating and developing functionality; and a full hardware development kit for rapid prototyping. Also available is the Mercury xPRESS Sensor Hub, a flexible development platform designed to enable customers to rapidly create cost-effective finished reader products (see RFID News Roundup: Trimble Adds Greater Functionality to ThingMagic Mercury xPRESS Sensor Hub).

ThingMagic Nano is expected to be made available during the second quarter of 2015.

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