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Identiv Offers NFC RFID Temperature-Tracking Solution

The system—consisting of the disposable uTrust Sense Temperature Tracker tag and an app for Android smartphones and tablets—is designed to serve as a low-cost data-logger.
By Claire Swedberg

Customers can purchase the uTrust Sense tags, which cost about $10 apiece for low-volume orders, but less for larger volumes. They can then store them for a period of time without draining the battery, Ardiley says, since the tags remain dormant until the first read activates them. Once a tag is activated via the uTrust Sense app, a user can configure that tag's settings, including how often it should take measurements (frequencies ranging from every five seconds to every nine hours are possible). The user can also configure the tag to transmit an alert based on preset thresholds of high and low temperatures.

The tag's battery life depends on how often those measurements are taken, but it is expected to last for the length of a shipment—typically, 30 to 90 days. If the battery dies before the user is finished using it, an NFC reader could still be employed to collect all sensor measurements stored up to the moment when the battery expired.

The uTrust Sense Temperature Tracker tag is about the size of a credit card.
If the quantity of temperature readings stored in the tag's memory exceeds the maximum of 762, the tracker can be configured to begin erasing and rewriting data, beginning with the oldest measurement.

Individuals could then read the tag's temperature data at different points along the supply chain. A truck driver could read the data upon dropping off or picking up a product shipment at a distribution center, and a retail-store worker could do so at the receiving dock.

Phil Montgomery
Several months from now, Identiv expects to release a software development kit (SDK) that will include a standalone application to enable a user to employ an HF reader (compliant with the ISO 15693 standard) to activate and configure the uTrust Sense tag, as well read and manage the collected temperature data. Sometime in the future, Identiv may also offer a cloud-based solution by which data would be available on a hosted server. Once the company releases the cloud-based version of the system, users could sign onto the server to access data about the read events and the temperature data collected at those times. The solution could also record the GPS locations of the NFC-enabled phones or tablets used to read the tag and collect its temperature data, if a user so chooses.

Montgomery says that one product manufacturer has been using tens of thousands of uTrust Sense tags, in conjunction with an app custom-developed by Identiv, to track temperature-sensitive goods that have a fairly short shelf life. He reports that several other companies that have expressed an interest in the technology as well, including some in the health-care market for tracking medical and pharmaceutical supplies. In addition, the uTrust Sense tag could be modified so that it could be worn against a person's skin, in order to monitor body temperature. In industrial environments, Ardiley says, the uTrust Sense tag can be used to oversee any temperature fluctuations within a room or building in which temperature controls are critical. "You can affix it to almost anything," he states.

USER COMMENTS

sj chang 2015-07-07 04:29:24 AM
I have a question about how temperature data is stored (written) into the 15693 chip such as NXP I code-SLI chip ? The RFID tag is "normally" read or written by PCD device (reader) via RF communication. Is there is a MCU in the tag to process the data from sensor ? Even so, how the processor write data to the passive RFID chip ? based on I code SLI datasheet, there is only 4 pins, Antenna LA, Antenna LB , ground ad test pads.

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