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RFID to Track Dentures at Nursing Homes

Nobilium's solution, from Syrma Technology, provides an automatic-identification method for nursing homes and hospitals in the form of a passive HF or NFC tag built into the dentures, to link a patient's ID with the false teeth as they are cleaned or maintained.
By Claire Swedberg

Howe met with Paul Dahl, Syrma Technology's director of RFID business, to consider how the company might develop a solution. Howe had seen RFID chips used for tracking pets, and wondered if the same could be applied to dentures—identifying a particular set of false teeth with a reader and then storing that data on a cloud-based server.

"We believed our RFID experience would be a perfect fit for pairing the right combination of tags, readers and custom software development," says Sreedharan NG, Syrma Technology's senior VP of design, engineering and quality.

The team faced the challenges of ensuring that the tags chosen could withstand the harsh environment involved in the cleaning process, in which bio acids are used. They also needed to meet the FDA's 510(k) requirements for use in the mouth. In addition, NG says, "Other key challenges involved developing a tag that functioned effectively [when] embedded in the dense denture materials."

Syrma's engineers designed a tag that included bio-compatible materials for miniaturized tags and inlays measuring 2 millimeters to 3 millimeters (0.08 inch to 0.1 inch) in diameter, in order to accommodate either of the two RFID chips. The tags come with chips from NXP Semiconductors for either the HF or NFC versions, built into Syrma's inlay. Syrma designed and developed its own reader using an NFC RFID reader chipset supplied by Texas Instruments.

The unique ID number encoded onto each tag is linked to the correct patient's identification, as well as his or her dentist and the date on which the dentures were assigned. Other information can be input in the software as well.

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