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RFID News Roundup

Impinj sells memory patents to focus on RFID; Florida's Turnpike Enterprise orders 1.5 million RFID tags; Texas Instruments debuts two new low-frequency tags; Soliatis opens testing lab for smart cards; Datamars, ABS deliver RFID for textile, laundry businesses.
Jul 03, 2008The following are news announcements made during the past week.

Impinj Sells Memory Patents to Focus on RFID
Seattle-based chipmaker Impinj has announced the sale of its non-volatile memory (NVM) intellectual property (IP) business to Virage Logic, a provider of IP for the design of complex integrated circuits. The sale, valued at $5.2 million, adds more than 50 Impinj patents to Virage Logic's IP portfolio, as well as 30 former Impinj employees responsible for Impinj's logic NVM IP business. About 90 percent of these employees are involved in research and development, the remainder in marketing and sales positions. The staff will work at Virage Logic's Fremont, Calif. headquarters. This deal makes Impinj "a pure-play RFID provider," said William Colleran, president and CEO of Impinj, in a release announcing the sale. Impinj will rely on Virage Logic as its provider for NVM technology required for Impinj's RFID product offerings. Proceeds from the sale will be used to fund Impinj's ongoing research and development and marketing activities; the cash is in addition to the $14 million in venture funding the company closed in January (see Customers, Collaborators Back Impinj With Funding).

Florida's Turnpike Enterprise Orders 1.5 Million RFID Tags
Florida's Turnpike Enterprise (FTE), which manages the statewide SunPass system used on 460 miles of Florida's toll highways, has selected TransCore's eGo Plus RFID sticker tags. The tags are part of an upgrade to FTE's current technology, in use since the late 1990s. TransCore's paper-thin, batteryless tags will be sold as the SunPass "Mini," and will be available this summer at regular SunPass outlets. The eGo Plus solution operates as a unit of Roper Industries, leverages passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) technology, and complies with the ISO 18000-6B standard. FTE has ordered the 1.5 million sticker tags, which are 915 MHz windshield-mounted tags that provide a read range of up to 31.5 feet and 2048-bit read-write memory.

Texas Instruments Debuts Two New Low-Frequency Tags
Texas Instruments has unveiled two additions to its 134.2 kHz low-frequency (LF) family of RFID tags. The new tags are designed for such applications as container tracking in waste management, vehicle identification and access control, as well as other applications in environments containing a lot of metal, such as oil refineries. The tags can also be applied to carbon fiber products and are developed to withstand high-temperature manufacturing processes. The 12-milimeter Multi-Usage Wedge Transponder can be directly mounted on metal. It features 208 bits of user-programmable memory, and the ability to secure data written to the tag with a password. A company could, for instance, have one portion of the tag's memory programmed with a factory-locked number, such as a manufacturer's ID code, and some of the other data sections could be freely used to record status, maintenance or location updates throughout the life of an asset. Security can be imposed with a password enabling data updates only by authorized parties. The 24-milimeter LF Circular Inlay is available with 80 bits of read-write memory or 64 bits of read-only memory. The inlay is ISO/IEC 11785-compliant and is designed to be easily encapsulated into a variety of materials and form factors. The inlays undergo complete inline parametric and functional testing to provide optimum off-the-reel yield, the company indicates, and are manufactured using TI's patented tuning process. Both tags incorporate a number of patented IT RFID technologies, including half-duplex (HDX) radio communication that, according to TI, can boost read range by 50 percent compared with full-duplex (FDX) LF. HDX radio communication offers a stronger RF signal because the HDX reader shuts down during the HDX tag's response. This, TI says, allows it reader to concentrate on receiving the signal, thereby obtaining an accurate read as compared to FDX. Both products are compatible with TI's reader portfolio.

Soliatis Opens Testing Lab for Smart Cards
Soliatis, a French provider of training, consulting, software development and test tools for the smart card market, has opened a new lab intended to provide companies with independent testing services. Soliatis Lab says it provides debugging sessions, as well as certification reports for smart cards and interrogators in contact and contactless technologies. The lab services include analogic and electrical tests to validate signal characteristics, digital tests to verify communication protocols, and application tests to validate application layers. The tests can be used to certify electronic passports and other products. The lab will support the ISO 17025 standard, which describes general requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories to ensure the technical competencies, organization processes and results quality of tests run by the laboratory.

Datamars, ABS Deliver RFID for Textile, Laundry Businesses
RFID solutions provider Datamars, headquartered in Switzerland, with offices in Youngstown, Ohio, and Lamphun, Thailand, has partnered with Boxtel, Netherlands-based ABS Laundry Business Solutions, a provider of automation and logistics solutions for the textile rental business. The two companies are bundling hardware (including RFID tags, interrogators and antennas) and ABS' software to deliver a modular RFID solution designed to help textile rental and laundry businesses track and manage textiles and garments. The solution will include consulting and integration services from Datamars, as well as software from ABS for garment and mat tracking, stockroom management and order processing.
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