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At IEEE RFID Conference, Passive Tags Talk With Each Other, Contact Lenses Help Control Diabetes

The annual event, co-located with RFID Journal LIVE!, has led to technical education, networking and innovation among attendees and presenters.
By Claire Swedberg

Open Wave RFID has utilized the Fosstrak LLRP Commander module as a design tool when developing software that communicates with LLRP-complaint readers. It allows Open Wave to monitor the LLRP commands being sent to and from the RFID readers. "This tool allows us to be more efficient when working through the software design life-cycles with our customers," Waggoner explains.

According to Pavel Nikitin, Intermec Technologies' principal engineer, "Over the seven years of this conference existence, [Intermec has] published seven papers." In 2010, Intermec received IEEE RFID's Best Paper award, and in 2012, it was nominated for that award. The company's winning paper, "Phase Based Spatial Identification of UHF RFID Tags," provided an overview of the spatial identification (determining position and velocity) of modulated backscatter tags. Intermec's 2012 paper, "Passive Tag-to-Tag Communication," described how passive tags can talk to each other directly in the presence of external radio frequency fields. For this year's award, IEEE RFID's judges picked the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), for its work, titled "Wide-Coverage Array Antenna Using a Dual-Beam Switching for UHF RFID Applications."

Duke University's Matthew Reynolds

An example of collaboration that can benefit companies were the meetings that Nikitin had with engineers from Voyantic over the course of several IEEE RFID conferences, thereby helping Intermec to improve its tag-testing system that utilized National Instruments' hardware. Voyantic indicated that it, too, benefitted from this collaboration with its own test systems it was developing and now markets commercially to companies around the world. Intermec uses its tag-testing system to evaluate the performance of the tags and smart labels it manufactures, as well as to help it develop new tags.

The tutorials and workshops are intended to allow attendees to dive more deeply into specific technical areas of interest, the organization reports, and are led by a recognized expert in each area. This year, the tutorial focused on RFID systems operating at frequencies of 5.8 GHz and higher. One workshop explored ways to enhance the near-metal performance of RFID tags, while a second provided an overview of RFID tags and sensors for biomedical applications. Typically, attendees have engineering backgrounds and considerable experience in the topic at hand, but are seeking greater detail. "It can get extremely technical," Reynolds says, though in some cases, individuals who are potential end users, or are from companies with a limited background in the technology, also attend.

For the technical sessions, the IEEE International Conference on RFID puts out a call in advance of each event for "original, high-impact research papers on RFID-related topics," which are typically due in December. The papers are presented anonymously to a panel of three anonymous peer reviewers, who then select the best ones to be presented at the conference, based on originality, the importance of the problem being addressed, technical merit, clarity and the potential impact of the results. For this year's conference, IEEE RFID received 89 paper submissions. In total, 36 were accepted (approximately 40 percent of the submissions received). Those papers' authors presented their work during the conference's technical sessions.

For this year's poster and demonstration session, 17 posters were submitted by students and scientists, of which 15 submissions were accepted—an 88 percent acceptance ratio. Along the walls of one room at the convention center, participants tack up their posters, which summarize a particular project on which they are working. The participants then stand beside their respective posters and explain their projects. According to Reynolds, the poster session is designed to provide researchers with an opportunity to cover preliminary or exploratory work within RFID research.

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