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RFID News Roundup
Xerafy introduces flexible UHF inlay for tracking metal assets; Nemours Children's Hospital in Florida to use RFID to personalize visits; Valencia puts sensors to work for water cycle management; Enso-Detego unveils new version of RFID suite; Psion announces new handheld with UHF RFID support; SATO revamps CL4e HF RFID printer.
Feb 23, 2012—The following are news announcements made during the past week.
Xerafy Introduces Flexible UHF Inlay for Tracking Metal Assets
Industrial RFID tag supplier Xerafy has announced the Metal Skin, a new ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID inlay compliant with EPCglobal's standards, and designed for tracking metal assets. The Metal Skin family contains Impinj's Monza 4QT integrated circuit (IC), which comes with 512 bits of user memory and 128 bits of Electronic Product Code (EPC) memory. Xerafy Metal Skin is targeted at converters and packaging partners, and is designed to fit existing conversion and printing processes for inlays, so that it can be converted with little or no modification. According to Xerafy, the Metal Skin differs from other metal tags in that it is lighter in weight, has a low profile and is flexible enough to fit curved surfaces, such as the contour of metallic cylinders and drums. The patent-pending Metal Skin—essentially a versatile "on and off metal inlay"—will be offered as a family of inlays in different sizes; for example, 3.54 inches (90 millimeters) in length by 1.18 inches (30 millimeters) in width and 0.026 inch (0.66 millimeter) in thickness. The Metal Skin will deliver a read range of up to 13 feet (4 meters) on metal and 16 feet (5 meters) off metal, the company reports, adding that it is currently working with several converters to define the top form factors used for applications. The Metal Skin can be converted into different label sizes through standard label-converting equipment and processes; logos and bar code can also be printed using standard RFID printers available on the market. The Metal Skin operates in the global RFID UHF frequency band (860 to 930 MHz), Xerafy says, and is versatile for a wide range of applications from product authentication and the tracking of IT assets and laptops to anti-counterfeiting of high-value items and medical supplies and tracking assets shipped globally. "Xerafy has employed a totally different RF antenna design to convert an idea into a reality, changing the entire context of passive UHF RFID tagging on metal," said Dennis Khoo, Xerafy's CEO, in a prepared statement. The Monza 4QT chip supports Impinj's True3D antenna technology. With True3D, the firm indicates, each chip can have two radios that can attach to separate antennas, thereby allowing tag manufacturers to create new antenna designs enabling the tag to be read regardless of its orientation (see Impinj Launches New High-Performance RFID Chips). Xerafy, however, declines to comment on why it chose the Monza 4QT chip for its Metal Skin tag, or to offer further details regarding the Metal Skin's antenna design.
Nemours Children's Hospital in Florida to Use RFID to Personalize Visits
Software AG has announced that it is helping Nemours outfit a new children's hospital being built in Orlando, Fla., with state-of-the-art systems supporting clinical, facilities, maintenance and other operations that leverage RFID and other technologies. Nemours is a children's health system that owns and operates the Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, in Wilmington, Del., along with major pediatric specialty clinics in Delaware, Florida, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The upcoming Nemours Children's Hospital (NCH), in Orlando, is slated to open in October 2012. Software AG's software will be used to integrate a variety of technologies, including an access-control and badge system provided by Software House. The Software House C-Cure system that will be implemented at the new hospital will incorporate HID Global's iClass 13.56 MHz smart cards, according to Bill Estep, Nemours' enterprise manager of application development. The access-control and badging system will be used to manage and record events at the hospital. For example, when a caregiver walks into a patient's room, an RFID sensor will read the badge, and the caregiver's picture—pulled from the hospital's HR system—will be displayed on the TV within the room. This lets a parent know that the person matches the badge, while informing the hospital about which staff members access which patients. The hospital will leverage Versus Technology's real-time location system (RTLS) for a nurse call system, Estep reports. Versus' tags transmit infrared (IR) signals, as well as RFID as a back-up solution, in the event that the IR signal is blocked or not operating properly. When a tag's IR signal, emitted every three seconds, is received by the IR reader at a particular location, the interrogator transmits its own ID number, along with that of the tag, to the Versus software. If the IR signal is not being received (if, for instance, a blanket is covering the tag and its infrared beacon), the RFID system provides a backup by emitting a 433 MHz RFID signal, which also beacons every three seconds, using a proprietary air-interface protocol. Software AG's webMethods Integration Server and webMethods Business Process Management Suite will weave together clinical, environmental and other hospital systems, including the badging solution and RTLS, that traditionally stand alone and do not communicate with one another. According to Software AG, the hospital will feature other technologies designed to create a comforting, customized experience for young patients and their families. Children who frequently visit NCH will be greeted by a familiar room setting every time they return. A child's favorite video games, Web site bookmarks, friends' lists and other electronic entertainment will be preloaded and available in the room. The lighting and temperature can be set the way the patient prefers, which serves to enhance his or her sense of control in an "out-of-control" setting. The blinds covering the floor-to-ceiling glass windows may be set to provide a preferred view of the gardens around the hospital. Patient Access Displays, or tablets, will be placed outside the door of each patient's room, replacing traditional magnetic whiteboards with an electronic board that feeds patient-related data to nurses, doctors and other clinicians in a respectful and unobtrusive way. A clinical command center will provide clinicians with access to all patient-monitoring systems, thereby allowing them to respond to events and alerts.
Valencia Puts Sensors to Work for City's Water Cycle Management
The Spanish city of Valencia is employing a network of wireless sensors to monitor water quality. The system was developed by the Institute of Computer Technology (ITI), in collaboration with the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV) and Telefonica Cathedra, according to Libelium, a Spanish wireless sensor hardware provider. Known as the PRETESIC Project, it includes Libelium's Waspmote wireless sensing technology, and is aimed at monitoring Valencia's network of sanitary sewers in real time, in order to determine the quality of water and establish whether elements within the network are functioning properly. The system includes sensors connected via a Libelium sensor board, and deployed throughout the sewers that measure water parameters, such as pH, temperature, conductivity, ammonia and chemical demand of oxygen, to determine water quality and check whether the different processes within the water cycle are working correctly. Each Waspmote includes a ZigBee 2.4 GHz 802.15.4 radio transmitter and an antenna, enclosed in a PVC container. The motes in the network communicate with their gateway via ZigBee radio links. Each has an LCD screen and a control panel to display the measurements, as well as such features such as fast-deployment sensor tools that allow any worker to deploy the network in an easy way, and with no previous planning. Each mote's battery life lasts up to one week, Libelium reports—up to several months if panel solar is used—and integrated GPS on each mote can identify the sensors' locations. In addition, each mote can be configured remotely. As the motes and sensors begin receiving data, that information is forwarded to a remote server via the Internet. At the same time, workers receive data in real time via handheld mobile units, and can review it on the screens.
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