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Cheap Plastic RFID Chips Move a Step Closer to Reality

German scientists have moved one step closer to the reality of plastic RFID tags which would be far cheaper to produce than even the most ambitious hopes for silicon-based tag prices.
Jan 13, 2005This article was originally published by RFID Update.

January 13, 2005—A group of German scientists has moved one step closer to the reality of plastic RFID tags which, if achieved, would be far cheaper to produce than even the most ambitious hopes for silicon-based tag prices. The group is PolyIC, a joint venture between conglomerate Siemens and hot stamping technology supplier KURZ. Their new development is a polymer-based chip that functions at 600 KHz, representing the fastest speed to date for organic chip technology. The group hopes to begin commercial development of the technology next year with the production of 4-bit chips. 4 bits is too small to be of use for supply chain RFID, but anti-counterfeiting applications would benefit. 32-bit chips would come next. It becomes most interesting if the group meets its 2008 goal of 128-bit chips that operate at 13.56 MHz. With those specifications, the technology would comply with RFID standards.

Another goal of the group is a price point of 1.3 cents per chip. It's unclear if and when they actually expect to get there, but if it were anytime close to 2008, the effects on the RFID market would be profound; even the most optimistic predictions put the price of silicon RFID tags at the considerably more expensive 5 cents by 2008. At 1.3 cents, the holy grail of item-level tagging becomes economically justifiable for a vast array of consumer goods, and indeed, PolyIC has its sights set on enabling just that. This week's announcement represents already considerable progress since the 125 KHz chip debut in October; in only three months the group has more than quadrupled that speed.

Computerworld offers technical details of the new technology
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