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Alien Offers Sled Reader With Multi-Antenna Polarization Options, 24-Hour Battery Life

The ALR-S350 is designed to enable companies to employ their own iOS or Android devices with a Bluetooth connection to manage read data, using the polarization of their choice.
By Claire Swedberg

Mitchell compares this to other handheld readers that may require several batteries to ensure that they can last an entire day without a recharge. He attributes the long battery life to the reader's low power consumption, though he declines to specify how this is accomplished. "It is a lower-power device than other handhelds on the market," he states.

The sled reader is designed to offer flexibility to users, depending on their particular environment and requirements for tag reads. Some traditional readers offer circular antennas to provide a wider-area read, while others offer a linear antenna that is known for a long range read in a linear orientation. But tags in a crowded, static environment may require a different read capability than in a fixed area in which tags move through a gate, for instance. "Linear might be used if you're more certain of the orientation," Mitchell explains. Users would select the antenna polarization for each read event using the Alien app, which would then prompt the reader to operate according to that selection.

Alien's Neil Mitchell
In either antenna mode, the sled reader can interrogate tags at a rate of up to 200 tags per second. Users can then select the best option for their needs. Linear polarization offers a read range of up to 22 feet, while circular polarization accomplishes up to 13 feet within a wider range. With a third option, in proximity mode, the read range can be reduced to less than half an inch. The ALR-S350 also comes with a built-in 2D bar-code scanner, a buzzer and three LED lights for alerts.

According to Mitchell, the reader is unique among some of its competitors, because the price includes all necessary appliances to work the device and manage the collected data. That includes cables, chargers and the app. By using the sled reader, he says, "users aren't locked into one operating system." He notes that RFID users often adopt the technology with a single use case in mind, "then they find out it works better in another application," sometimes requiring them to change the operating system or obtain a different version.

This latest product release follows a strategy of providing products that do not compete with the efforts of Alien's resellers and partners, Mitchell says. For this reason, he explains, Alien offers hardware that can be used with a solution provider's own software solutions, allowing it to build systems for a specific end user's requirements. The ALR-S350 sled reader is designed to be rugged, Mitchell says, and has been tested to sustain a 5-foot drop.

Alien Technology will also demonstrate its Hydra Series Power over Ethernet Plus readers at the event. The company launched the devices in November 2017 (see Startup SensThys Teams With Alien to Provide PoE+ RFID Mesh).

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