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Missouri S&T Scientists Develop Software for Improving Read Rate

The group says its software works with any reader, automatically adjusting the device's power to prevent tag signal collisions, even when numerous tags are close together.
By Beth Bacheldor
Nov 26, 2008A team of researchers at the Missouri University of Science and Technology's Electrical and Computer Engineering department has developed software designed to improve the RFID tag read rates that can be compromised by signal collisions when a high number of RFID tags are near one another.

Jagannathan Sarangapani, a professor leading the research team, began working on the technology five years ago. He and his group are now seeking a technology partner to license and commercially develop and market the technology, through the university's Office of Technology Transfer and Economic Development. The researchers have filed for a patent with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Sarangapani says.

In one test, the scientists studied the effect their software had on an interrogator's ability to read EPC Gen 2 tags on bottles of water stored in a freezer.

According to Sarangapani, the most significant difference between his method and others designed to mitigate signal collisions and improve read rates—such as anti-collision technology incorporated into the tag itself—is that his is software that can be loaded onto commercially available, off-the-shelf RFID interrogators. "Ours doesn't require any hardware changes," he says, adding that the technology will operate with any RFID frequencies and standards, such as EPC Gen 2, and also with any proprietary RFID systems.

Even with anti-collision technologies in tags, as well as advancements in tag protocols, such as with EPC Gen 2, designed to improve read rates, most RFID implementations require reader antennas to be adjusted to reduce signal collisions. In addition, companies also often have to experiment with multiple tags, each of which feature different antenna designs, to find the best model to suit their particular application.

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