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Vitamix Adds RFID to Its Food Blenders

The new products are designed with customer safety and convenience in mind.
By Nathaniel Prince
Feb 15, 2017

Vitamix, a blending equipment manufacturer based in Ohio, has integrated Near Field Communication (NFC) technology into its new ASCENT Series of blenders with the goal of improving customer convenience and safety. The company is installing NFC RFID readers into the bases of its machines and providing accompanying food containers with embedded tags, custom-made by Smartrac with air-coil wire antennas and NXP Semiconductors' NTAG216 NFC chips. The result is a feature that Vitamix calls SELF-DETECT.

When a user places a SELF-DETECT container on an ASCENT Series blender's base, the appliance reads the container's embedded NFC tag and can automatically change multiple operating parameters (as many as 140). The NFC solution can modify program settings, button functions, motor speeds, maximum time settings and other operating parameters, according to the company, making it easier to prepare hot soups, frozen sorbets, frosty smoothies and other fare.

The Vitamix Ascent A2300 Blender
In containers with exposed blades, such as the Smoothie Cup accessory, the NFC antenna circuit remains open until the blade base is properly enclosed with the cup. The open antenna circuit prevents the tag from being read, prohibiting the blender from operating. When the cup and blade base are properly coupled, the antenna circuit closes, allowing the NFC tag in the Smoothie Cup base to be read by the blender, which allows it to be operated.

The blender's operating parameters change accordingly once the container on the base is identified. Not only is this a convenient feature, the company notes, but it helps to reduce unsafe operating conditions as well. For example, unless an appropriate container is in place, the blender's soup program (which results in heat being generated from the friction of the blades, causing pressure to build up in the container) will be disabled.

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