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RFID News Roundup

User-friendly reader software from SAMSys; International RFID Center opening; transponder protectors from Lab ID; Organic Electronics Association forms.
By Bob Violino
Dec 17, 2004The following are news announcements made during the week of Dec. 13.

User-Friendly Reader Software from SAMSys
SAMSys Technologies, an RFID solutions provider based in Toronto, Canada, has announced the RF Command Suite product, a Microsoft Windows-based software application that provides a graphical interface for configuring, programming, and commanding SAMSys RFID readers. The application was developed to provide an easy-to-understand interface for average users of the SAMSys readers to access the advanced commands used for adjusting settings and networking readers. The suite includes tools to change readers' operating modes and tag protocol configurations, upload new tag protocols and features, and view error logs and summaries of tags successfully read. It also includes a window with the traditional SAMSys command line interface for sending commands to a reader and a log window to view all data received from the reader. The software is available immediately for use with SAMSys's multiprotocol MP9320 reader and the new MP9310 multiprotocol embedded reader module.

International RFID Center Opening
The International RFID Center, which will offer consulting services to end users of RFID, RF and sensor technologies, is opening in a 7,000-square-foot facility in Frisco, Texas, a northern suburb of Dallas. The consultancy is being developed to help companies manage the introduction of RFID technologies, as well as other RF and sensor technologies, into their operations. It will focus on services to the many hundreds of companies that are not among the top 100 suppliers to Wal-Mart or other retailers with RFID mandates but that will be required to integrate RFID into their operations in the coming years. The center plans to offer its clients an RFID product showroom and show them how best to approach RFID integration. The center will also match up clients with technology partners and system integrators to help them get the most appropriate RFID system up and running. In the first quarter of 2005 the center also hopes to launch the RFID and Related Sensor Technology Business Incubator by raising an initial capitalization of $10 million and using the funds to provide business support to RF-related startup companies.

Transponder Protectors From Lab ID
Italian RFID product manufacturer Lab ID has developed a method of protecting RFID transponders from water, high temperature and exposure to some chemicals by coating them with vulcanized polyethylene or polyurethane. It calls the coated transponders Plen Tags. The company says the process can be used to protect any transponder and says the protected transponders could be placed in or near places such as engines with exposure to high levels of sustained heat and chemical agents. In ongoing tests, tags covered in the Lab ID protective material and immersed in saline water, diesel fuel, motor oil, bleach, acetone alcohol and a number of other agents have continued to function properly since May 2003. The Plen Tag coating is permanent and cannot be removed. Lab ID is currently offering a tag-coating service, but no pricing information was released.

Organic Electronics Association Forms
The German Engineering Federation, the largest industry association in Europe, with approximately 3000 member companies, has announced the formation of the Organic Electronics Association (OEA) working group within the Federation. The OEA is made up of representatives from 37 companies and research institutes working in the field of organic electronics, including Covion, Degussa, MAN Roland, Merck, PolyIC and Siemens. The association's mission is to both foster information exchange and build a competitive infrastructure for the production of plastic electronics in Germany and Europe. Organic electronics refers to electronic products made of thin, flexible plastic materials that can be manufactured in large volumes and at low cost, relative to electronics made with nonorganic matter, such as silicon. A number of companies are developing technology to create RFID tags solely out of printable organic materials at a cost lower than that for traditional silicon-based tags. The OEA says the market potential for organic electronics represents a value of several billion euros.

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