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Axzon Adds New Features to Sensing RFID Tag

The company's Xerxes tags come in two forms: a passive version, available now, that can accommodate four sensor modalities and comes with encryption for secure blockchain applications, and a battery-powered datalogger.
By Claire Swedberg
Apr 15, 2019

Wireless sensing technologies company Axzon has released its latest sensor-based UHF RFID tags to provide passive sensing capabilities for the cold supply chain, as well as construction and other applications. The Xerxes-I Smart Passive Sensing system can accommodate up to four sensors in one device using a single chip, and ensure the security of that data, says Tanmay Zargar, Axzon's marketing director. The company is also releasing a tag with datalogging capabilities, known as the Xerxes-II, for which engineering samples will be made available later this year.

The Xerxes-I Smart Passive Sensing system is the latest in a family of Axzon's smart passive sensing devices. The first was the Magnus, a UHF tag that sensed temperature, moisture and humidity levels, as well as weight and proximity, for use in the industrial, automotive and health-care markets. When the passive UHF RFID tag is interrogated, it transmits its own unique ID number while also capturing and then transmitting the sensor readings. That makes the tag a low-cost and simple way to track conditions regarding such applications as cars under assembly (to make sure they are water-tight) or adult diapers (to alert caregivers that a patient needs changing).

Tanmay Zargar
Since then, however, the technology has further evolved, Zargar explains. Companies now seek data from additional sensors, so the Xerxes can provide gas detection, thermocouples or other sensor devices built into the tag. What's more, he says, businesses are increasingly pursuing blockchain-based applications and, therefore, require data encryption. "The real game-changes is its secure wireless interface," Zargar states.

By providing an on-chip encryption engine, the tag can ensure that no data can be accessed or changed by an unauthorized party. With this feature, the tag can enable the collection of a data record, available to specific parties, even as it passes through the custody of several users.

The tag can be placed within a container, or onto a perishable product, such as fresh food or pharmaceuticals, as those goods are first packaged or shipped. The encryption engine on the chip requires that those who interrogate the tag must provide the proper encryption key before they can access data. The system can thus control what each supply chain member can access, as well as what data can be written to the tag at each step.

That enables an immutable record to be collected about a given product, along with the conditions to which it has been exposed, while protecting data from unauthorized parties. The tag not only will collect data, but could provide information to companies or consumers regarding the conditions to which a product was exposed, where it has been and when this occurred.

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