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Thinfilm announces new U.S. high-volume fabrication facility ••• Custom BioGenic Systems intros VersAlert wireless temperature-monitoring system ••• Virtual beacon company Mist closes on $28 million funding round ••• GAO RFID unveils enhanced hands-free advanced parking solution ••• NFC Forum announces new technical specifications ••• AIM publishes standard for evaluating RFID's effects on medical devices.
By Beth Bacheldor

Custom BioGenic Systems Intros VersAlert Wireless Temperature-Monitoring System

Custom BioGenic Systems, a manufacturer of patented liquid nitrogen freezers and inventory systems, has announced a new remote-monitoring system, known as VersAlert, to track laboratory freezers and other temperature-sensitive equipment, and to issue alerts if thresholds are crossed.

VersAlert is a cloud-based system that features sensors communicating via the IEEE 802.15.4 standard for low-rate wireless personal-area networks (LR-WPANs). The platform is designed to remotely monitor valuable temperature-sensitive inventory, according to the company, and to aid in regulatory compliance, such as 12 CFR Part 11. With the system, health-care companies can monitor and record the temperatures, from -200 degrees to +50 degrees Celsius (-328 degrees to +122 degrees Fahrenheit), of liquid nitrogen freezers, mechanical freezers, refrigerators, incubators and more, via a smartphone, tablet or PC, and receive text or email notifications in the event that parameters suddenly exceed defined limits.

Custom BioGenic Systems' VersAlert wireless sensor
The VersAlert system is designed to automatically generate alarms and collect data without human error or the need for reminders. According to the company, it reduces labor costs and the amount of time employees waste on manual methods, and can be connected to health-care organizations' existing building-management systems.

The solution includes an 802.15.4-compliant gateway to wirelessly network a mesh of sensors that can deliver up to 4,000 feet of line-of-sight tracking. The gateway generates a secure wireless network using the mesh-network implementation of the MiWi Pro protocol operating at 2.4 GHz, explains Sam Ian, a Custom BioGenic Systems spokesperson. This sensor can scan for the cleanest of 16 radio channels, and supports up to 1,500 feet of line-of-sight communication between two devices. The gateway is connected cable to the local network via an Ethernet; therefore, only one IP address is required to support as many as 300 sensors.

The gateway requires no software, computers or monitoring fees, the company reports, and is FCC-, IC- and ETSI-certified. It is powered by a 6-volt power supply and features a four-hour battery backup system. The system also includes a repeater that can be used to extend a gateway's or sensor's range, by creating another node on the network to which sensors can connect. The mesh network is intelligent; sensors are able to choose their path back to the gateway, whether via another sensor or a repeater, or directly to a gateway.

A sensor's memory allows data to be stored in the event that it loses its gateway connection or power. The sensors are able to report signal strength, which makes finding weak spots in the network easy, the company reports. Each sensor is powered by two lithium-ion batteries and measure 5.5 inches in length by 5.5 inches in width and 1.75 inches in height. Each sensor has a jack for the provided thermocouple, as well as for the following connections: 0-5V or 4-20ma input, a dry contact input and a global alarm output.

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