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Impinj Introduces Two New Gen 2 Chips

The Monaco/64 and Monza/ID chips are designed for additional user data and product authentication, respectively.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Aug 11, 2006RFID chipmaker Impinj is making two new RFID chips, the Monaco/64 and Monza/ID, in response to market demand for RFID tags able to carry more user-programmable data than just a 96-bit EPC, and that can be used for product authentication. Both chips are available to tag-makers in production quantities today.

The Monaco/64 chip is designed for applications in which users need to add rewritable data to a tag. Manufacturers could use the chip's 64 bits memory to store such things as product information, warranty or expiration and lot data. Airlines using RFID-enabled baggage tags could use it to store data relating to baggage inspections and airports where the baggage has traveled. Pharmaceutical companies might use the memory to encode a drug's chain of custody. Since the chip is compliant with the EPCglobal Gen 2 standard, the available 64 bits of data—in addition to the 96 bits used for an EPC—can be password-protected so that only authorized parties could alter it.

Bill Colleran
The Monza/ID chips, which also have 64 bits of extra memory, are used to encode a unique, unalterable identifier programmed by Impinj when the chip is being produced. The ID will be used to authenticate the product or asset to which the finished tag is attached. Bill Colleran, president and CEO of Impinj, provides a hypothetical example of how tags made with the Monza/ID could be used to authenticate products: Today, he poses, a maker of high-value shoes such as Nike might place an order with a third-party manufacturing company for 1 million pairs of shoes. There's nothing to stop that manufacturing company from fulfilling the order, he says, then producing thousands more to sell illicitly, because neither the shoemaker nor the downstream retailers or logistics providers have a means of authenticating the product. However, if Nike ordered a million Gen 2 tags with Monza/ID chips to be embedded in each left shoe, Impinj could encode a serialized, unique ID to each chip. This number, along with the EPC encoded to each finished tag, would be sent to Nike and shared with its supply-chain trading partners, who would use the numbers to authenticate the finished products they transported or sold.

As a second verification, Impinj uses a bit that is part of the chip's configuration registry to indicate the authenticating ID is factory-encoded. This same bit in the Monaco/64 chip is set to signal that the additional 64 bits will be encoded by the user. (The Monaco/64 chip does not include a unique ID.)

According to Colleran, Impinj considers 64 bits the most appropriate amount of additional memory for its first extra-memory chips.

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