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RFID News Roundup

Trimble introduces ThingMagic Mercury6 RFID reader; Xerafy unveils new X II metal-mount RFID tags; National Instruments expands its wireless sensor platform; RFM announces battery-operated Wi-Fi sensor modem; Deutsche Telekom plans mobile wallet this year; European Supply Chain Institute adds NFC to RFID project for tracking carbon emissions.
Mar 03, 2011The following are news announcements made during the past week.

Trimble Introduces ThingMagic Mercury6 RFID Reader
Trimble has introduced the ThingMagic Mercury6 (M6) 4-port RFID reader—the first new ThingMagic reader since Trimble's purchase of the reader manufacturer in October 2010 (see Trimble Acquires ThingMagic). The M6 is based on the ThingMagic M6e embedded RFID reader module, unveiled in April 2010 (see RFID New Roundup: ThingMagic Intros New Compact RFID UHF Reader Module). The M6 can deliver a read rate of up to 400 EPC Gen 2 (ISO 18000-6C) tags per second, and a read range of more than 30 feet with a 6-dBi antenna, with support for dense-reader mode (transmit and receive). The device's small form factor—7.5 inches (19 centimeters) long, 7 inches (17.8 centimeters) wide and 1.3 inches (3.3 centimeters)high—makes it suitable for low-profile portals, read stations, displays and a variety of other indoor and outdoor structures and environments, the company reports. The M6 has an IP52 rating, providing dust ingress protection and water resistance for industrial, outdoor and rugged service requirements. It can operate at 5 to 31.5 dBm in both AC and Power over Ethernet (POE) options, and includes an integrated Wi-Fi network option so it can be integrated with existing enterprise Wi-Fi networks and Wi-Fi security standards. According to Trimble, the M6 operates with ThingMagic's MercuryAPI (application programming interface), which includes high-level developer interfaces in Java and C#, providing original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), value-added resellers (VARs) and end users with a common programming interface for enterprise RFID solution development. "As the market evolves from the use of one-size-fits-all RFID readers toward highly integrated solutions, ThingMagic continues to broaden its portfolio of RFID readers and development tools to serve established and emerging customer needs," said Tom Grant, the GM of Trimble's ThingMagic division, in a prepared statement. "The addition of the Mercury6 to our product line allows our customers to continue to develop and deliver innovative RFID solutions in a variety of form factors across several markets poised for significant growth." Available now, the M6 has a list price of $1,395 for the POE model and $1,545 for the integrated Wi-Fi model.

Xerafy Unveils New X II Metal-Mount RFID Tags
RFID tag manufacturer Xerafy has announced the availability of its X II ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID-on-metal tags, which the Hong Kong-based company says are suitable for applications in the automotive, aerospace, construction, energy and IT markets. The various new X II series, all of which conform to the EPC Gen 2 specifications, build on Xerafy's existing X series tags designed for extreme conditions, such as high-temperature and high-metal environments, but now come with an ingress protection rating of IP68, which means they are waterproof and dust-proof, as well as enhanced read-range performance. (Among the original X series tags, only the Micro X has an IP68 rating.) The smallest of the new tags, the PicoX II model, measures 0.70 inch by 0.43 inch by 0.19 inch (17.8 millimeters by 10.9 millimeters by 4.8 millimeters) and weighs just 0.07 ounce (2 grams), Xerafy reports, enabling it to be attached to weapons, tools and medical devices without compromising the device's performance. It has an on-metal read range of up to 6.6 feet (2 meters). The NanoX II measures 0.25 inch by 0.51 inch by 0.19 inch (6.4 millimeters by 13 millimeters by 4.8 millimeters), weighs 0.18 ounce (5.1 grams) and has an on-metal read range of up to 20 feet (6.1 meters). The PicoX II and the NanoX II models can both be affixed via adhesive, and both come with an encasement that increases the tags' performance to twice the reading distance of the PicoX and NanoX, respectively. The MicroX II has the longest read range—up to 26 feet on metal—and has been reconstructed using patent-pending packaging for higher impact and temperature performance, Xerafy indicates. It measures 2.01 inches by 1.43 inches by 0.30 inch (51 millimeters by 36.3 millimeters by 7.6 millimeters) and weighs 1.02 ounces (29 grams), and can be affixed via a rivet hole or an optional adhesive. "The X II series tags enable customers to deploy RFID, who have been shut out of RFID in the past because the RFID tags in the market could not achieve the read range requirements in harsh conditions," said Dennis Khoo, Xerafy's CEO, in a prepared statement. "In critical and often potentially hazardous applications requiring reliable identification of people and assets, Xerafy tags offer the RFID traceability essential for safe and secure operations and tracking."

National Instruments Expands Its Wireless Sensor Platform
National Instruments (NI) has unveiled two new products—the NI 9792 programmable wireless sensor network (WSN) gateway and the NI WSN-3226 voltage/resistance temperature detector (RTD) combination node—that extend the communication and measurement capabilities of the NI WSN platform. NI's WSN consists of wireless nodes, gateways (which share information with applications for processing, analyzing and presenting the measurement data collected by the nodes) and routers (which extend the communication distance between the end nodes and the gateways). According to NI, the products are suitable for long-term data logging and the remote monitoring of environmental conditions, energy, buildings, structural health, temperature, transportation and industrial conditions. The NI 9792 gateway can communicate with NI WSN measurement nodes, as well as other hardware, through a variety of open communication standards. It combines an NI LabView Real-Time controller module and an integrated WSN radio so that LabView Real-Time applications can run locally on the gateway to aggregate data from NI WSN devices, making the NI 9792 useful for embedded, wireless data-logging applications. (LabView, NI's graphical development software, is designed to help develop, debug and deploy distributed real-time systems.) The NI 9792 gateway, which is programmable with the LabView Real-Time Module for standalone operation, features a 533 MHz processor and 2 GB of onboard storage for embedded data-logging applications. It also features integrated Web (HTTP) and file (FTP) servers, so that measurement data can be remotely accessed from thin client devices, such as smartphones and mobile computers. The NI 9792 includes an RS232 serial port and dual Ethernet ports for connectivity to other devices, such as enterprise-level networks or wired I/O systems. The NI WSN-3226 provides engineers and scientists with the ability to combine voltage and temperature measurements on a single NI WSN device, thereby adding resistance-based measurements to the NI WSN platform. It features four analog input channels that can be configured on a per-channel basis for +/- 10 V measurements or resistive measurements. The new measurement node offers users the flexibility to choose between high-speed and high-resolution analog input modes on the device, so that they can fine-tune the power and performance trade-offs for their particular applications. The node also features two bidirectional digital channels that can be configured on a per-channel basis for input, sinking output or sourcing output. It can be powered by four AA batteries, with an operational lifetime of up to three years, or externally powered with a 5 to 30 V supply—which, according to the company, offers improved efficiency for energy-harvesting applications.

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