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Memorable Development: Tego Releases 32K RFID Tags

Tego has released passive UHF tags with up to 32 kilobytes of user memory. The startup says the tags can last 20 years and are compatible with EPCglobal Gen2 and ISO 18000-6C standards, so no propriety equipment is needed to read and encode them.
Tags: Aerospace
Feb 23, 2009This article was originally published by RFID Update.

February 23, 2009—Tego has made limited quantities of its high-memory passive UHF tags available for evaluation. The samples can hold up to 32 kilobytes of data and are compatible with EPCglobal Gen2 and ISO 18000-6C standards. The Boston-area startup is shipping its TegoTags to customers and partners now, and expects to go into volume production next quarter, company president and CEO Tim Butler told RFID Update.

Tego can produce tags with various amounts of memory, from 4K to 32K, which is significantly more memory than has been available for passive UHF tags. Commonly used tags typically support a 96-bit EPC number and may make additional memory available for users. Last year Fujitsu said it would begin manufacturing a 64K passive UHF tag (see Fujitsu Announces Roomy 64KB Gen2 RFID Tag). Several other passive UHF providers currently offer high-memory tags with 512 bits of user-programmable memory (see New RFID Tag Extends Memory, Range in Tough Environments and NXP Doubles Memory on Gen2 RFID Chips ).

Sample tags are available in industrial and card form factors. Tego can provide finished tags or chips, plus software to help develop high-memory applications. Tego says its tags can last 20 years or more because of energy harvesting technology it has developed.

"Most people think of passive tags as identification. We're trying to get them to see a new range of solutions," Butler said.

Tego targeted airplane maintenance applications when it began developing its technologies. Aircraft makers Airbus and Boeing have been highly visible leaders in testing RFID for a variety of applications (see IBM and OAT Land Multi-Million Dollar RFID Contract). Airbus and Boeing have often expressed their desire for RFID tags with enough memory to store part genealogy and maintenance history information. Airbus is currently evaluating TegoTags, according to Butler.

"The actual use-case applications for our technology aren't about trying to read and write 32 kilobytes at one time. The data will be built up over years," Butler said. "Service technicians want to know 'When was this last repaired? What were the mechanic's notes?' That's the type of information our solution can provide."

Tags can be integrated with sensors to collect and store temperature readings, motion measurements and other sensor data. In its announcement, Tego cited potential asset management, supply chain and disaster recovery applications for the technology.

Tego was founded in 2005 and has maintained a low profile. It announced a round of venture funding in 2007 (see $6M Funding for Aerospace RFID Tag Maker) but didn't release any other news prior to its recent product announcement. Tego uses partners to convert chips into finished tags, and does not plan to focus on data management software, according to Butler. The company expects to announce customer implementations within a month.
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