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ThingMagic Releases New Tiny Reader Module

The M6e-Micro's small size enables equipment manufacturers, such as Zebra Technologies, to further shrink the size of their devices to meet customers' needs.
By Claire Swedberg
The new, smaller version of the M6e device offers the same level of functionality as its larger predecessor, Grant says, and both models provide up to two times the read distance of other RFID modules used in mobile applications. The M6e-Micro model can read EPC Gen 2 passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) tags at a rate of up to 700 per second. The module also enables users to dial down the power required to support applications that demand precision, such as tag writing. The Micro is the second in the M6e family of modules, Grant says, and its functionality is similar. However, the release of the Micro follows the August 2012 unveiling of the latest version of the firmware platform to improve features and functions, which is now available with both M6e products (see RFID News Roundup: Trimble Expands Functionality of ThingMagic RFID Readers).

Tom Grant, ThingMagic's general manager
Some of those features include an increase in tag read rate of up to 75 percent from the previous version. The device also provides a "fast search" mode for interrogating tags affixed to fast-moving objects, the firm reports, at a speed of up to 200 kilometers per hour (124 miles per hour). What's more, it can read a greater amount of data per tag—up to 128 bytes.

The module is already being provided to two existing customers—one of which is Zebra—as well as one new customer, in addition to Trimble itself, which makes its own sensor devices and is incorporating the new M6e-Micro reader module into its devices. Those products have yet to be announced. The other two customers have asked not to be named in this story.

"We had a number of customers who said they only have a certain-size cavity" for the module in a device they were engineering, Grant states. "The real estate is a prime issue."

According to Fein, Zebra Technologies has been utilizing ThingMagic reader modules for several years.

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