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RFID News Roundup

Avery Dennison intros EPC Gen 2 inlay for tagging small items; Wavetrend announces active RFID module for handheld computers; Intelleflex takes its BAP RFID solution to Indian market; IDTronic announces range of readers for industrial handheld computer; researchers to develop bridge monitoring systems; Omnitrol Networks teams with network company BT Global Services.
Jan 22, 2008The following are news announcements made during the past week.

Avery Dennison Intros EPC Gen 2 Inlay for Tagging Small Items
Avery Dennison's RFID division has introduced the AD-805—an RFID tag inlay about the size of a postage stamp. According to the company, the inlay's small size makes the AD-805 suitable for tagging small items in densely packed retail and health-care environments. The inlay is shaped in an "S" pattern and has an "edge-on" reading capability, which means its narrowest portion—its edge—can be oriented toward the interrogator and still be read. Because of this edge-on reading capability, Avery Dennison reports, the AD-805 can be employed for plastic or cardboard blister packs. The inlay complies with the EPC Class 1 Gen 2 and ISO-18000-6C standards, as well as the European Union's Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive, which restricts the use of six hazardous materials in the manufacture of various types of electronic and electrical equipment. The AD-805 inlay is available now.

Wavetrend Announces an Active RFID Module for Handheld Computers
Wavetrend, a U.K. provider of active RFID solutions based in Surrey, has announced an expansion module that adds active RFID reader capability to Psion Teklogix's Workabout Pro rugged handheld computer. The RX2100 Psion Teklogix Workabout Pro End-Cap Reader is part of Wavetrend's ActivMobility suite of mobile solutions for active RFID asset management, and provides the Workabout Pro with the ability to detect and decode signals from Wavetrend's Activ and ActivDuo ranges of active 433 MHz RFID tags. The RX2100 can also be used in conjunction with the Workabout Pro's bar-code scanner, so customers can scan and associate bar-coded labels with active RFID tags. The RX2100 can be supplied with the Wavetrend TagHound demonstration software (sold separately), which enables a user to simply scan an area for tags and then display the quantity found, along with the detected tag ID numbers. The user can then find the location of an individual tag by following the "tagometer" bar, which changes color from red to green as an operator gets closer to the target tag. Wavetrend developed the RX2100 End-Cap Reader using the expansion module hardware development kit provided by Psion Teklogix. The RX2100 is available now, in two models. The standard model offers a typical tag read range of approximately 15 meters (45 feet), while the long-range model provides a typical tag read range of around 45 meters (135 feet) through the use of an external antenna supplied with the interrogator.

Intelleflex Takes Its BAP RFID Solution to Indian Market
Intelleflex, a Santa Clara, Calif., provider of RFID systems for yard management, asset tracking and applications for transportation and logistics, aviation and hospitality, has announced the availability of its line of RFID-enabled battery-assisted passive RFID tags and associated readers and antennas for the Indian market. Although RFID has made inroads in Asia, particularly in such countries as Korea, Singapore and Taiwan, the RFID market in India has been relatively small. But that's changing, says Saresh Palliparambil, Intelleflex's director for the Asia-Pacific region. "We have seen a shift in the past year or so," he states, adding that RFID opportunities are particularly strong for tracking and tracing goods in a supply chain in order to help fight theft and counterfeiting, for automated vehicle tracking or vehicle yard management, and for access-control and employee-tracking applications. Intelleflex's battery-assisted RFID technology is designed to extend the typical range of passive tags to 50 meters (164 feet), thereby improving read reliability in challenging environments, such as those containing large quantities of metal or liquid, and in outdoor locations. The extended on-tag memory provides 60 kilobytes of rewriteable storage for such data as asset ID, status and history. The product line for India will be optimized to operate in the 865-868 MHz frequency range, the same RF band used for tags in Europe. Intelleflex's battery-assisted RFID tags are rugged, compact and designed for a variety of applications. The company's multi-protocol RFID interrogators can interoperate with a range of tags, and can read EPC-compliant passive tags, as well as battery-assisted EPC Class 3 tags.

IDTronic Announces Range of Readers for Industrial Handheld Computer
IDTronic, a German provider of RFID hardware, has announced that its portfolio of mobile RFID interrogators equipped with CompactFlash (CF) and SecureDigital (SD) interfaces has been integrated with Socket Mobile's SoMo 650 industrial handheld computer. The interfaces in IDTronic's mobile readers allow them to be used in CF and SDslots, which CF and SD slots, which are used typically to add memory cards to electronic products. The IDTronic/SoMo integration for the CF reader/writer is available in four versions: an ultra-high frequency (UHF) model that supports the EPC Gen 2 and ISO 18000-B/C standards; a high-frequency (HF) reader that supports ISO 15693 standard; an HF model that supports the ISO 14443-A/B standards; and low-frequency (LF) device that supports a variety of 125-134.2 kHz tags. The mobile reader/SoMo 650 integration for the SD reader-writer is available in the following models: the HF SD 1010, supporting the 13.56 MHz ISO 14443-A/B and Near Field Communication (NFC) standards; the HF SD 1020, supporting the 13.56 MHz ISO 14443 and ISO 15693 standards; and the LF SD 1210, supporting the 125-134.2 KHz frequency. The SoMo handheld computer comes with support for Bluetooth, USB and 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi technology, and provides reinforced CF and SD slots to take advantage of the IDTronic CF and SD Readers. Besides the ability to utilize the IDTronic RFID readers, the SoMo 650 offers a range of options and accessories, such as bar-code scanners and sales-force automation, inventory-management, patient-care, merchandising and asset-tracking applications.

Researchers to Develop Bridge Monitoring Systems
Thanks to a multimillion-dollar research grant, engineers from the University of Texas at Austin (UT), National Instruments (NI), a maker of automated test equipment and virtual instrumentation software based in Austin, and Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, a Northbrook, Ill., engineering firm, hope to develop a wireless sensor solution that could be used to monitor cracks or defects and corrosion in key structural components of highway bridges. The five-year research project is funded by a $6.8 million grant that includes $3.4 million from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and $3.4 million in matching funds from all participants. Civil, electrical and mechanical engineers from the Cockrell School of Engineering will work with engineers from the collaborating firms to develop two wireless monitoring systems that will be designed to address the safety of highway bridges in the United States—of which, according to UT, there are about 600,000. Bridge safety has become increasingly important, particularly since the 2007 collapse of the Interstate 35W bridge that killed 13 people and left 145 injured. Federal Highway Administration statistics show that 25 percent of the United States' highway bridges were rated as structurally deficient or functionally obsolete in 2007, UT reports, and that approximately a third of all bridges are 50 years or older. The research group plans to first develop a system for existing bridges that employs a network of low-power wireless sensors designed to continuously monitor bridges deemed fracture-critical—those susceptible to collapse from the failure of a single critical component. The sensor nodes will be powered by solar or wind energy or vibrations in the bridge structure. The nodes, according to the university, will be capable of supporting multiple sensors, and will have sufficient computing power to process raw sensor data, detect events and send notifications to a central, off-site location when a specified level of damage occurs. The researchers then plan to develop a second system that can be embedded into new bridges as they are built. This system will consist of passive sensors designed to detect early signs of corrosion—the most common type of damage, and something that cannot be seen by visual inspection—in reinforced concrete bridge decks. National Instruments will contribute its wireless sensor networking technology and LabVIEW graphical programming software to the project. In addition, NI and university engineers will experiment with a variety of wireless technologies since the concrete and steel components of a bridge commonly create significant interference with wireless communications. Once this is developed, Wiss, Janney, Elstner plans to implement and field-test the systems.

Omnitrol Networks Teams With Network Company BT Global Services
Omnitrol Networks, based in Mountain View, Calif., has partnered with BT Global Services (BT), a provider of networked IT services. The collaboration will enable BT's Supply Chain Solutions group to deliver real-time supply chain, asset and operational visibility solutions that leverage RFID, wireless and sensor technologies based on Omnitrol Networks' RFID middleware. This middleware includes the Application and Service Creation Engine (EASE) for delivering integrated real-time asset and work-in-process (WIP) visibility. In a prepared statement, Keith Sherry, general manager of BT's Supply Chain Solutions group, said the partnership will provide its customers with "the potential to reduce operating costs, improve real-time visibility of their products and reusable assets, and increase accuracy of order fulfillment, resulting in improved customer service—all of which contribute to gaining and retaining competitive advantage." Omnitrol Networks' middleware works with passive and active RFID, ultra-wide band (UWB) and Wi-Fi real-time location systems (RTLS), mobile handhelds and sensors providing automation and real-time analytics.
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