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RFID News Roundup

Ubisense intros UWB tag module for third-party development; RFID tracks participants at "World's Largest 5K Event"; Baptist Memorial Health Care installs RFID system to protect babies; RF Code extends trade-up program to include passive RFID tags, readers; Nivis announces new WirelessHART gateway solution.
Jul 01, 2010The following are news announcements made during the past week.

Ubisense Intros UWB Tag Module for Third-Party Development
Ubisense, a manufacturer of ultra-wideband (UWB) real-time location system (RTLS) solutions, has introduced its new tag module designed for direct integration into third-party devices. Certified in the United States, Canada and the European Union, the module is a UWB location-tracking device that's an advanced version of Ubisense's standard location-tracking tag used for monitoring individuals and assets, as well as for managing critical production, the company reports. Such certification means integrators need not perform UWB emissions testing on their final products, Ubisense explains. Atlas Copco is currently integrating the module within power tools it manufactures, and Ubisense says it expects the module to be used by organizations across a variety of market sectors that produce devices requiring custom form factors. The module transmits UWB radio signals that allow the Ubisense location system to find its position in real time to within 15 centimeters (6 inches) in 3-D, depending on system a company's particular configuration and environment. Because the system measures both the angle of arrival (AOA) and the time difference of arrival (TDOA) of the tag's signals, it can generate accurate 3-D tracking information, even when only two sensors detect the tag. Ubisense tags also employ a dual-radio architecture—that is, in addition to having a one-way UWB radio used for tracking, they also have a conventional bidirectional 2.4 GHz radio for control and telemetry. According to Ubisense, the tag module measures 24.5 millimeters by 24.5 millimeters by 9.1 millimeters (1 inch by 1 inch by 0.4 inch), and its design allows it to be integrated into and receive power from a host device, enabling third parties to location-enable their products. The company has also introduced a Module Development Research Kit to support integrators considering location-enabling their products. The package includes tag modules, sensors, software and documentation—everything necessary to allow experimentation with Ubisense's tag module, the firm reports. Both the module and kit are available now.

RFID Tracks Participants at "World's Largest 5K Event"
The Susan G. Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure, which bills itself as the "world's largest 5K event," leveraged an RFID-enabled race-timing system from Innovative Timing Systems (ITS). The solution, known as the Jaguar Race Timing System, was used to time thousands of race participants. The Jaguar Race Timing System employs Alien Technology RFID readers with slight modifications, as well as Alien reader antennas. ITS' system also utilizes Alien EPC Gen 2 RFID chips, and sometimes Alien tags. At the St. Louis event, held on June 12 of this year, ITS used its own proprietary tag, the G-Chip, which is specifically designed to handle large races, according to Kurt Hansen, ITS' president. Hansen declines to provide details regarding the proprietary tag design, citing competitive market reasons. At the St. Louis race, Alien reader antennas were mounted overhead, along with modified Alien readers, and the G-Chips were affixed to the backs of the race bibs. More than 71,000 participants were offered the option to be timed with the system, though not all accepted. Hansen describes the race as resembling a scene from a movie in which 71,000 people were trying to evacuate a city simultaneously. With such a large mass of people, he says, safety was paramount, and the Jaguar was thus the ideal solution since it was designed for extremely high-read reliability without any potential trip hazards. ITS first commercially introduced its Jaguar Race Timing System in September 2008 (see Startup Offers 'Fail-safe' RFID Race-Timing System). Its design was markedly different from traditional timing systems that involved tags affixed to shoes and mats over which racers would step, that included antennas.

Baptist Memorial Health Care Installs RFID System to Protect Babies
Baptist Memorial Health Care, a health-care system serving locations throughout the mid-southern United States through eight affiliate hospitals that provide obstetric care, has announced that it has installed an infant security system from RF Technologies, a provider of RFID-enabled security systems, to protect and monitor infants, children and hospital emergency-room patients. Baptist Memorial Health Care's hospitals deliver approximately 10,000 babies annually, and the new infant-security system is being used to increase the safety and security of those new arrivals. RF Technologies' Safe Place 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. Accompanying software lets staff members monitor infants, alerting them to any attempt to tamper with infant transmitters. RF Technologies' Safe Place is used at a number of other hospitals as well, including Ocean Medical Center and St. John's Children's Hospital (see RFID News Roundup: New Jersey Hospital Installs RF Technologies' Infant-Security System and St. John's Children's Hospital Deploys RFID to Protect Children).

RF Code Extends Trade-up Program to Include Passive RFID Tags, Readers
RF Code, an RFID hardware and systems provider based in Austin, Texas, has announced the expansion of its Tag-In trade-up program, to include passive RFID solutions. Now, users of passive RFID solutions have the same opportunity as those deploying active RFID solutions to trade in their tags and readers for monetary credit toward the purchase of an RF Code active RFID solution, which includes 433 MHz active tags that enable the automated, real-time tracking of assets in data centers and distributed enterprises, and throughout the supply chain. The new Tag-In program involving passive RFID tags will run through Aug. 31, 2010. According to the company, those participating in the Tag-In promotion will receive a $5 credit for every passive tag and $250 credit for every passive reader turned in, which can then be applied toward the purchase of RF Code active tags and readers (the R150 Temperature Tag, the R155 Humidity Temperature Tag and the R200 Reader are not included in the promotion). Businesses looking to take advantage of the Tag-In program must currently have a passive RFID implementation already deployed.

Nivis Announces New WirelessHART Gateway Solution
Nivis, a provider of open-standard wireless sensing and control networks, has announced its Nivis WirelessHART Gateway, a wireless communication gateway designed for industrial plant applications. The gateway, a dual-protocol solution for field device communications, is based on both the WirelessHART and ISA 100.11a standards. WirelessHART is a wireless sensor networking (WSN) specification for process automation allowing battery-powered sensors to be deployed in previously hard-to-reach locations, while providing wire-like reliability. According to the International Society of Automation (ISA), the ISA 100.11a standard defines the protocol suite, system management, gateway and security specifications for low-data-rate wireless connectivity with fixed, portable and moving devices supporting very limited power-consumption requirements. According to reports, industry attempts to converge the two different standards have proven unsuccessful. Nivis' support of both protocols, the company indicates, means Nivis' gateway can operate with both types of devices, so that the firm's customers can retain complete flexibility to reconfigure their networks as standards evolve in the future. The gateway is available in two models, Nivis reports: the VersaRouter 910 (VR910), an all-inclusive hazardous-location-certified gateway complete with enclosure, and the VersaRouter 810 (VR810), an intrinsically safe certified module designed for integration into custom enclosures as an OEM module. Both products have passed testing for hazardous-location (HAZLOC) certifications (ATEX Zone 2, C1D2 and so forth) and electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) certifications (FCC and ETSI). The Nivis Gateway is available for order now, with delivery slated to take place this summer.
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