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RFID News Roundup

Trimble announces Juno T41 rugged handheld computer with UHF RFID; STMicroelectronics unveils NFC development kit; Lab ID intros UHF RFID tags for tracking very small items; MAINtag launches FLYchip64 high-memory chip for aerospace; Indiana school district implements Ekahau RFID panic buttons; Radius Networks announces USB-powered Bluetooth beacon; Asset Vue, No Limits Software partner on RFID-enabled data center asset-management solution.
By Beth Bacheldor
Feb 13, 2014

The following are news announcements made during the past week by the following organizations: Trimble; STMicroelectronics; Lab ID; MAINtag; Ekahau; Radius Networks; Asset Vue, No Limits Software.

Trimble Announces Juno T41 Rugged Handheld Computer with UHF RFID

Juno T41R
Trimble has announced the Juno T41R rugged handheld computer with integrated ultrahigh-frequency RFID capabilities that is designed to automatically recognize tags across the UHF RFID frequency band (860 to 960 MHz). The new handheld series supports the EPC Global Gen 2 and ISO 18000-6C protocols and features an integrated ThingMagic M6e-Micro module. The series also features an integrated, orientation insensitive antenna (865-868 MHz or 902-928 MHz) that Trimble says provides rapid-read, high-accuracy performance on multiple tags with multiple orientations, even in crowded conditions. The integrated antenna has the ability to transmit up to +30 dBm (1 Watt) power, and the Juno T41R offers a read-range more than 3.5 meters with a 5-centimeter-wide (2-inch) UHF tag in unobstructed space, according to Trimble. The RFID capability can be combined with Enhanced GPS and/or smartphone connectivity so customers can choose a specific handheld model that meets their needs, the company said. The Juno T41R comes with preloaded with the Trimble SearchLight RFID tag reading application for configuration use-case parameters support. Trimble also offers a software development kit that can be used to customize all the settings including read range, power consumption and other features. The Juno T41R feature a 1 GHz processor and 512 MB RAM and 32 GB onboard storage with either the Android 4.1 or the Microsoft WEHH 6.5 operating system. Other standard features include an 8 megapixel integrated camera, multi-touch capacitive 4.3-inch sunlight-readable display and all-day battery life.

STMicroelectronics Unveils NFC Development Kit

STMicroelectronics has announced a new development platform for its M24SR Near Field Communication (NFC) RFID chips, which the company says are now entering volume production in all memory densities and package options. Unveiled in November 2013 (see RFID News Roundup: STMicroelectronics Unveils Family of ICs for Embedding NFC Tags in Electronic Devices), the embeddable M24SR family of NFC RFID chips contain three key elements: non-volatile memory (NVM) that retains its stored data even when its power supply is switched off; a wireless RFID interface for communicating with other wireless devices; and a wired interface (industry-standard I2C) for communicating with the host equipment's controller. The M24SR Discovery Kit, according to ST, contains everything engineers need to start adding NFC connectivity to any kind of electrical device, from fitness watches and loudspeakers to washing machines and water meters. The kit illustrates NFC use cases such as "tap and pair," URL connection, send an SMS or an e-mail message, and business-card download, the company says. The kit integrates a Dynamic NFC/RFID tag (M24SR64-Y), an STM32F1 microcontroller, a 13.56 MHz antenna, an LCD color screen, a USB connector, a JTAG connector, and a joystick for menu selection. The Premium version adds a Bluetooth module with audio outputs and a headset to demonstrate convenient Bluetooth pairing of a smartphone and an audio device with the M24SR. In addition to the discovery kit, the M24SR development ecosystem also includes antenna reference designs, application notes, e2e community, eDesignSuite, reference MCU drivers and an NFC Android App.

M24SR Discovery Kit (front)

Lab ID Intros UHF RFID Tags for Tracking Very Small Items

Lab ID's UH601 tag
Italian RFID firm Lab ID has announced a new series of ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tags designed to offer error-less traceability and anti-counterfeiting capability of very small items such as rings, watches, jewelry and pharmaceuticals. The UH601 family of tags feature either NXP Semiconductors' Ucode 7 chip or EM Microelectronic's EM4124 or EM4126 chip. According to Lab ID, the UH601 measures 30 millimeters by 10 millimeters and is more sensitive with a longer read range compared to the previous family (the U600) of UHF tags. The tags support the EPC Gen 2 and ISO 18000-6C standards and are designed to work in environment with high density of tags, according to Lab ID. The U601 tags are available in wet inlay format and can also be delivered as labels, customized in terms of materials, with RFID encoding and printing, if needed.

MAINtag Launches FLYchip64 High-Memory Chip for Aerospace

A FLYchip64 tag
MAINtag has introduced FLYchip64, an update to its FLYchip product portfolio first unveiled in May 2013 (see RFID News Roundup: MAINtag Introduces New RFID-enabled, ATA Spec 2000-compliant FLYchip). MAINtag's FLYchip is compliant with specifications from the Air Transport Association of America (ATA)—now known as Airlines for America—as outlined in the ATA's Spec 2000 standard (newest version 4.0), and is embedded in the FLYtag range of RFID tags for the parts-marking of life vests, seats, medical kits, oxygen generators, in-flight entertainment systems and other flyable parts with life-cycle or expiration dates requiring inspection and inventory checks. According to MAINtag, performance tests have shown that FLYchip64 offers read range of up to 7 meters (nearly four times greater, MAINtag claims, than other existing available high-memory chips), has 65,536 bits user memory and 496-bits EPC & 208-bits tag identifier (TID), and is capable of a minimum operating power (in reading) of -15dBm, which according to MAINtag is four times better sensitivity than existing available high-memory chips, making it easy to design performing low- profile metal compliant tags. The FLYchip 64 also supports the GS1 EPC Tag Data Standard (TDS) 1.7, as well as 32-bits access password and 32-bits kill password to permanently disable the tag and the BlockWrite, BlockErase and BlockPermalock function on 16 bits boundaries.

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