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Family Open-Sources Entrepreneur's RFID Solutions

TigeRFID is a GitHub-based open-source platform utilizing the technology development of ActiveWave, a Florida company owned by Touraj Ghaffari.
By Claire Swedberg
Mar 15, 2017

The sons of radio frequency identification entrepreneur Touraj Ghaffari have released an open-source platform to make the results of their father's decades of work available to other RFID technology developers—at no cost. TigeRFID, available at the GitHub developers' service, includes an active RFID software application programming interface (API), as well as access to the necessary data to develop stations that program tags and ActiveWave standard fixed or mobile RFID readers.

Ghaffari founded ActiveWave in 2001 in Florida, to offer active RFID solutions using 433 MHz to transmit data to tags, while the tags transmit to readers via ultrahigh-frequency (UHF). The technology is currently being used to track vehicle fleets, as well as monitor inventory control, work-in-progress at factories and patient tracking in health care, among other applications. Companies in the U.S. Mideast, Brazil and other locations are employing the active RFID system in areas where passive RFID would not work as effectively. For instance, the tags are applied to cars at dealerships or storage lots, so that they can be interrogated at a distance, despite the presence of metal. They also operate well around metal racks and in large spaces such as warehouses, says Omid Ghaffari-Tabrizi, Ghaffari's son and TigeRFID's repository maintainer.

Left to right: Omid Ghaffari-Tabrizi with father Touraj Ghaffari and brothers Amir and Piom
The ActiveWave technology offers a read range up to 30,000 square feet for a single reader, Ghaffari-Tabrizi says, using anti-collision logic to ensure that all tags are read in a crowded environment. The system is simple to install, he adds; the fixed readers are powered via AC/DC or Ethernet, while PC card-based readers can be attached to forklifts or trucks, and handheld readers offer Bluetooth and GPRS connection to a back-end server.

ActiveWave also sells a sealTag that allows for security features such as being tamper-evident, and a miniTag that can accommodate a temperature sensor. The tags can be configured to sleep in order to conserve battery life, and then to automatically awaken at predefined intervals, transmit information to the reader and go back to sleep. Conversely, they can be woken up intermittently by the reader's 433 MHz transmission.

Touraj Ghaffari died unexpectedly last year, and his sons had to decide what to do with his business. They felt that they lacked the technical background to run the business themselves, but that their father would have wanted the technology he developed to continue being used. Since their father's favorite animal was the rare Caspian tiger, Ghaffari-Tabrizi says, they named the open-source platform after the tiger in the hope that the technology would thrive—unlike the Caspian tiger, which went extinct near the end of the 20th century. "My brothers and I decided to open-source it with the main goal to enable the technology to keep going," he states.

USER COMMENTS

Dr. Arnold Banks, P.h.D. 2017-03-21 12:10:12 AM
Touraj and I worked together at Activewave. I designed most of all the RF tags for 433 MHz and other frequencies and managed the lab. Touraj was great person to work for. Always having a smile on his face and willing to help anyone in need. His sons were his apple of his eyes always wishing they would finish school and run the business. I'm so saddened of hearing about his passing. If any of the family reads this I would like help in anyway I can. My number is 661 505-5293. RIP Touraj

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