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TekVet-IBM Cattle Tracker Uses Active RFID Tags, Satellite Communication
With temperature sensors linked to battery-powered RFID tags, the system can record not only an animal's location, but also its health.
Aug 24, 2006—Agriculture technology company TekVet has begun taking orders for its new active RFID cattle-tracking system. The TekVet system includes health monitoring and a Web site that displays details about an individual animal's history and health condition.
The system utilizes active 418 MHz RFID tags, sensors that monitor an animal's internal temperature and transceivers to transmit each tag's unique serial number, as well as the animal's temperature, to an Internet server hosted by IBM. There, the unique serial number of that tag is linked with the animal and its health record.
The RFID tags and sensors are manufactured by Nationwide Electronics, based in Palmetto Fla. A tag is attached to an animal's ear, and the tag's temperature sensor is inserted into the ear canal. Once an hour, the tag transmits its unique ID number and the animal's temperature. That transmission is captured by transceivers known as TekVet SmartReceivers, also manufactured by Nationwide Electronics.
The SmartReceivers can be attached to poles or walls of buildings on a cattle producer's lot, offering a read range averaging 300 to 500 feet. The devices use a 900 MHz private satellite communication network to transmit tag and sensor data to an IBM-hosted data center, where information on millions of cattle worldwide can be displayed online. The Web site containing this data is accessible by producers, investors and food-safety regulators, enabling them to determine the lot where an animal is located, based on which transceiver is receiving the tag data.
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