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SMARTRAC, RFMicron Release Passive RFID Temperature Sensor Technology

The new sensors enable users to track the temperatures of products or assets via low-cost disposable passive RFID tags and off-the-shelf UHF EPC Gen 2 readers.
By Claire Swedberg
May 13, 2016

SMARTRAC and RFMicron have each released new passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) temperature-sensing RFID inlays that they are marketing as low-cost alternatives to data loggers or active RFID tags, for use in tracking the temperatures of such products as perishable foods in supply chains or in storage. RFMicron has also released several other new products aimed at the wireless transmission and collection of sensor data. The companies announced these products at last week's RFID Journal LIVE! conference and exhibition, held in Orlando, Fla.

SMARTRAC's Sensor Temperature DogBone inlay
SMARTRAC's Sensor Temperature DogBone inlay and RFMicron's Temperature Sensor Powered by Magnus tag both use RFMicron's Magnus S3 passive RFID sensor IC, released a year ago (see RFMicron Releases New Passive UHF Chips With Moisture, Temperature, Pressure Sensors). The disposable UHF tags can be attached to items via an adhesive and is intended to enable users to identify a tagged item's temperature when interrogated by a UHF RFID reader. The SMARTRAC inlay is a follow-up to the company's Sensor DogBone moisture-sensing inlay, which is made with RFMicron's Magnus S2 chip, according to Lauri Hyytinen, SMARTRAC's head of automotive segment.

RFMicron's Andy Lambrecht
The Sensor Temperature DogBone inlay and the Temperature Sensor Powered by Magnus tag each come with an on-chip temperature-sensing circuit that digitizes a product's temperature value into a 12-bit number. Off-the-shelf UHF readers receive that data, along with the tag's unique identifier, and use RFMicron software to convert the 12-bit number to a temperature reading, from -40 degrees to +85 degrees Celsius (-40 degrees to +185 degrees Fahrenheit).

The Magnus S3 chip's typical accuracy is ±3 degrees Celsius using one-point calibration, which is performed during wafer manufacturing. Alternatively, the Sensor Temperature DogBone inlay and RFMicron's sensor tag are available with a chip that offers two-point-calibration, with which temperature accuracy is plus or minus 0.55 degrees Celsius. In addition, the new inlay retains the basic moisture-sensing capabilities found in the Sensor DogBone inlay. To do that, Magnus chips measure the impedance changes in an RFID tag's antenna, caused by the presence of moisture or water.

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