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RFID News Roundup

RFID promises to save millions of dollars for blood banks; IDTronic intros new HF gate antenna and long-range reader-writer; epcSolutions compliance package for DOD suppliers; Hill-Rom to add AeroScout RTLS to its medical product line; KSW Microtec passive windshield inlay offers more memory.
Mar 06, 2008The following are news announcements made during the past week.

RFID Promises to Save Millions of Dollars for Blood Banks
U.S. blood banks could save up to $9 million annually using radio frequency identification to track units of donated blood, according to researchers involved in an RFID project overseen by the University of Wisconsin-Madison and conducted by the UW-Madison RFID Lab. The project is an ongoing initiative to develop RFID standards for labeling and tracking blood in the global supply chain, from donor to patient. The lab has partnered with three national blood centers to study the feasibility and develop prototypes for using RFID to manage the entire supply chain in blood transfusion medicine. One center, the BloodCenter of Wisconsin, began testing RFID in September 2007 to determine whether the technology has any harmful effects on blood products (see BloodCenter of Wisconsin to Study RFID's Effect on Blood). The financial feasibility aspect of the project, now completed, examined the use of RFID and bar codes in a blood center setting. According to the university, disposing of donated blood due to mishandling or other concerns costs more than $200 per unit, and a typical midsize blood center may need to discard 15,000 to 20,000 units each year. Improving identification and quality control through RFID, the researchers estimate, could save the U.S. blood banks more than $9 million per year after full implementation, resulting in 40,000 to 45,000 fewer units of blood products needing to be discarded. The university and project partners now plan to test a prototype RFID tracking system in hospitals. Through a grant with the National Institutes of Health, the university will work with such hospitals as the University of Iowa Medical School and Mississippi Baptist Health. Project partner Syslogic, a Brookfield, Wis., technology firm, will be involved in identifying some problem points in the hospital environment, and in helping hospitals address those issues using RFID-enabled products.

IDTronic Intros New RFID Gate Antenna and Long-Range Reader/Writer
IDTronic, an RFID hardware supplier headquartered in Ludwigshafen am Rhein, Germany, has announced a 13.56 MHz RFID gate and long-range reader. The EzMultiX gate antenna, the company claims, is particularly suited for use in applications such as time and attendance tracking, access control, and event management. Each side of the gate contains two small antennas, which allow tags to be read regardless of how they are oriented. The EzScan LRM long-range RFID interrogator complies with the ISO 15693 standard and automatically controls the switching between the four individual antennas. The EzScan LRM has an integrated four-channel multiplexer for the direct connection of up to four antennas, and a maximum output power of 8 Watts. Red signal lamps on the gate light up when a tag has been read. Depending on tag type and antenna configuration, tags can be read from a distance of up to 140 centimeters (55 inches). The EzMultiX and EzScan LRM support all major ISO 15693 transponders, including Infineon my-d, TI Tag-it HFI, NXP I-code SLI and Legic Advant ATC-MV chipsets.

New epcSolutions Compliance Package for DOD Suppliers
epcSolutions, headquartered in Great Falls, Va., has released a new version of its RFIDTagManager, a turnkey RFID compliance package built on its SensorOS middleware, which acts as an operating system for RFID hardware so different interrogators can interact with printers or other equipment. RFIDTagManager for the Department of Defense (DOD) is designed to help suppliers meet the department's RFID requirements for tagging products and creating electronic workflow documents for those orders and transactions. Using point-and-click commands within the RFIDTagManager software, suppliers can set up and configure a variety of RFID hardware, as well as print and encode DOD-compliant EPC Gen 2 RFID labels. The solution includes the functionality to send the workflow transaction documents to a secure DOD server, as well as a full SQL database and an EPCIS-compliant repository. The EPCIS protocol serves as the communication mechanism between applications and data repositories from which a company can effectively exchange and query data within its own RFID processes and those of its partners, and also automates the exchange of RFID data by allowing machine-to-machine communications. RFIDTagManager for DOD supports a variety of EPC Gen 2 label printer-encoders and interrogators, including those from Zebra Technologies, Motorola, Printronix, Intermec, Datamax and ThingMagic. The compliance package is available now for $895.

Hill-Rom to Add AeroScout RTLS to Its Medical Product Line
AeroScout, a provider of Wi-Fi-based real-time location systems (RTLS), has partnered with Hill-Rom, a manufacturer and provider of medical technologies and related services for the health-care industry, including patient support systems, noninvasive therapeutic products, medical equipment rentals and workflow information technology solutions. Hill-Rom, an operating company of Hillenbrand Industries, will integrate AeroScout's suite of RTLS tools for the health-care industry into its own portfolio of health-care solutions. AeroScout's RTLS employs active Wi-Fi tags, which transmit 2.4 GHz signals carrying the tags' unique ID numbers to Wi-Fi network access points, and a location appliance that computes the tags' location. AeroScout Exciters trigger the tags to emit their signals, and AeroScout MobileView software is used to associate a tag's ID with the tagged asset or person (such as a patient or caregiver). In addition, Hill-Rom will resell the AeroScout solution, and the two companies will work together to develop advanced uses and applications for the integrated products.

KSW Microtec Passive Windshield Inlay Offers More Memory
German RFID component supplier KSW Microtec has launched an EPC Gen 2 windshield RFID inlay with 512 bits of user memory. The inlay, available now, has a read range of about 18 feet and is designed for access control and security into parking lots; gated industrial and residential areas; automotive services such as toll stations, car rental parks or car washes; and high-security commercial and industrial areas.
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