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RFID News Roundup

New Jersey hospital installs RF Technologies' infant-security system; STMicroelectronics intros MotionBee for remote motion control; PolyIC, Thinfilm announce high-volume pilot production of roll-to-roll printed memory; RF-iT Solutions' RFID middleware receives SAP certification; Magellan Technology extends U.S. presence; PervCom expands its RFID solution for mining industry.
Oct 01, 2009The following are news announcements made during the past week.

New Jersey Hospital Installs RF Technologies' Infant-Security System
RF Technologies, a provider of RFID-enabled security systems to protect and monitor infants, children and hospital emergency-room patients, has announced that Ocean Medical Center, a 281-bed nonprofit community hospital in Brick, N.J., has implemented the company's Safe Place Infant and Pediatric Security Solution. The hospital is employing the system to keep tabs on and protect babies throughout its infant unit (where approximately 1,200 babies are delivered annually); the system is designed to sound an alarm and automatically lock all doors in the event of an attempted abduction. Safe Place features dual-frequency transmitters—active RFID tags that periodically emit signals at 262 kHz and 318 MHz. Doorway interrogators pick up the tags' 262 kHz transmissions, while others deployed elsewhere within the facility receive their 318 MHz signals. According to RF Technologies, the installation took two weeks and was completed in late July. The company installed a computer running the latest version of Safe Place software, enabling hospital staff members to interact with the system and interface with all doors in the unit so they can be locked the instant the alarm is activated. In addition, any attempt to tamper with the system's wiring or infant transmitters by unauthorized personnel will send an alert to the monitoring system. RF Technologies provided on-site clinical education on Safe Place for one full week, and also provided a follow-up refresher course 60 days after the initial training session. Practice abduction drills have taken place, RF Technologies reports, and will be conducted quarterly so that the staff maintains its familiarity with the system.

STMicroelectronics Intros MotionBee Platform for Remote Motion Control
Chipmaker STMicroelectronics has introduced MotionBee, a module that combines motion sensing with ZigBee wireless technology in a single module. According to STMicroelectronics, the low-power-consumption MotionBee is designed to help system developers more easily and cost-effectively build wireless sensor networks for remote motion recognition and tracking in a variety of applications, such as vibration monitoring and detection in different indoor and outdoor environments, automated navigation systems, or biosensor networks in remote-health-care applications. The first-generation MotionBee integrates the company's three-axis digital-output microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) accelerometer with a ZigBee platform from Ember Corp. that includes the EM250 System-on-Chip, as well as an IEEE 802.15.4-compliant 2.4 GHz radio transceiver and processor, together with the EmberZNet PRO ZigBee networking software. MEMS are small silicon chips that can combine mechanical elements, sensors, actuators and electronics. The MotionBee module detects accelerations in the selectable range of +/- 2g and +/- 6g, and transmits the information to a central connection point (as in a star topology) or every other node (as in a mesh topology) in a ZigBee network. The module is fully programmable and measures 49 millimeters by 27 millimeters by 5 millimeters (2 inches by 1 inch by 0.2 inch). ST's first MotionBee device, the SPMB250-A1, is available now, with samples priced at $60. An evaluation kit is also available, with two preprogrammed modules and a ZigBee dongle for integration with a PC.

PolyIC, Thin Film Announce High-Volume Pilot Production of Roll-to-Roll Printed Memory
PolyIC, a developer and manufacturer of printed electronics products based in Furth, Germany, and Thin Film Electronics, an Oslo, Norway, provider of nonvolatile-memory products, have jointly developed a line of rewritable polymer memory products in a high-volume roll-to-roll printing process. According to the partners, the memory technology could be integrated with PolyIC's thin film transistor technology, enabling both companies to jointly address significant market opportunities, such as printed RFID products. PolyIC reports that it has already developed a roll-to-roll production process for printed electronics, and has successfully demonstrated its first printed RFID tags. In February 2008, the company joined with a consortium of chipmakers, chemicals companies and high-tech firms to advance the development of high-performance printable RFID tags (see BASF, Siemens, PolyIC Join Others to Advance Printable RFID Tags).

RF-iT Solutions' RFID Middleware receives SAP Certification
RF-iT Solutions, an RFID software and consulting company based in Graz, Austria, has announced that its RFID middleware, You-R Open version 3.4, has been certified to work with enterprise applications company SAP. The You-R Open middleware is designed to process data from RFID processes, irrespective of the readers and tags used, and then facilitate data exchange with back-end systems. The certification means customers using a SAP system are guaranteed the interface to You-R OPEN is compatible with the SAP architecture, said Dominik Berger, RF-iT Solutions' managing director, in a prepared statement. You-R Open includes a standard connector to SAP—the You-R Open AII Connector, which allows a direct connection with standard SAP solutions, the company reports.

Magellan Technology Extends U.S. Presence
Magellan Technology, a Sydney, Australia, developer, manufacturer and licensor of 13.56 MHz RFID technology, has extended its agreement with Creative Electronics and Software (CES) of South Elgin, Ill., for CES to develop, manufacture and market Magellan's RFID products. The global license extends a previous agreement, in place since 2007, that established CES—a U.S.-based electronics turnkey manufacturer and distribution facility—as a manufacturing subcontractor of Magellan's full line of Phase Jitter Modulation (PJM) reader portfolio (see Magellan Announces New Euro Reseller, U.S. Manufacturer). "We are very pleased to strengthen our relationship with CES," said Tim Frost, Magellan's chairman and CEO, in a prepared statement, "as it will further consolidate our position in the North American market, which has great potential for our PJM reader products." CES will develop, manufacture and market all of Magellan's reader products, Magellan reports, including tunnel readers, desktop readers, document readers, the MARS family of readers, and specialist antennas. CES will primarily service the North American markets, but is not restricted to that region.

PervCom Expands Its RFID Solution for Mining Industry
PervCom Consulting, a Calcutta, India, provider of active RFID-based real-time locating system (RTLS) solutions that employ active RFID tags operating at 2.4 GHz, has expanded its RFID-based solution designed to help mining companies track assets, optimize production and improve safety. PervCom's WirelessMine system utilizes battery-powered RFID tags, routers and sensors compliant with the IEEE 802.15.4 standard, to create a wireless mesh network. The system consists of five modules: DumperTrace, DumperShield, DumperHealth, TruckTrack and WirelessUnderground. The DumperTrace module includes a GPS-based navigation system, and tracks dump trucks used in open-pit mines so they can be more efficiently managed. DumperShield is a dual-alert automatic collision avoidance system designed to protect dumper-to-dumper collisions, dumper-to-worker collisions and the collision of dumpers with fixed hazards in opencast mines. Dumper Shield offers early warnings and proximity warning utilizing GPS and RF proximity sensors. The DumperHealth system is designed to automatically detect and monitor the operational parameters of essential components of a dumper, and to generate alerts for maintenance-related issues. TruckTrack is an automated RTLS designed to track, from a remote office, the locations and weights of loaded trucks at entry and exit gates, in parking lots, on weigh bridges and within a plant. WirelessUnderground is intended for improving underground mining safety and production via the constant monitoring of asset utilization. According to PervCom Consulting, the utilization pattern of various underground mining equipment—such as loaders, various drill machines and dump trucks—can be monitored online and without any human intervention. In addition, the system can be used to track and locate underground miners from the central control station on the surface. The WirelessUnderground system incorporates wireless sensors that monitor toxic gases, humidity and air flow in real time. It can also provide alerts to take appropriate actions in the event of an undesired situation. PervCom indicates it is in the process of implementing its WirelessMine solution for many premiere mining organizations in India. The company first unveiled its RTLS technology, along with several RTLS components, in 2008 (see Indian Mine Monitors Workers and Toxic Gases).
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