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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

In addition, student teams submitted their designs for a custom 915 MHz LED rectenna (a tag antenna, plus an RF charge pump and a light-emitting diode). A cash prize was awarded to those who developed the smallest device able to light up the LED at the farthest distance from a 915 MHz continuous wave source.

This year's topic, for both paper and poster submitters, included categories similar to those of previous years: antennas and propagation; applications and software; circuits, devices and interrogators; localization, protocols and security; and sensors. In addition, Reynolds says, three new topics were added to the list: next-generation physical layers (PHY), power harvesting and RFID in biomedical.

Addressing those new topics, a paper focusing on next-generation PHY by researchers at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg and Technische Universität Dresden described active millimeter-wave backscatter tags in combination with high-capacity data storage and high-speed data transfer. Regarding the topic of power harvesting, a paper submitted by the Georgia Institute of Technology's Christopher Valenta and Gregory Durgin discussed power-optimized waveforms and how they can increase the power-conversion efficiency of energy-harvesting circuits. In the biomedical field, Brian Otis, provided a keynote speech that included a description of his latest research into a smart contact lens that could detect glucose levels in the tears of diabetic wearers.

Nikitin says he has seen the conference lead the way in areas of importance to the RFID market, such as localization and smart antennas.

"The mission of the conference is to bring people together," Reynolds says—both academics and engineers—in order "to provide leadership" in the innovation of RFID solutions, and to work through technical problems that might not be solved purely by engineers in the industry, or purely by academics working in a laboratory setting. "This is a great opportunity for partnerships," he states. "Attendees can go there with the seed of an idea and explore that."

IEEE RFID is a volunteer organization. This year's conference had 103 volunteers, consisting of paper reviewers, members of the conference organizing committee, tutorial and workshop presenters, and members of the IEEE Technical Committee on RFID. Next year, IEEE RFID will once again hold its event concurrently with RFID Journal LIVE!, on Apr. 8-10, in Orlando, Fla.

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