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RFID News Roundup

Moteiv's new, smaller mote; National Envelope Corp. markets RF-blocking security sleeve; vendors partner on RFID center for apparel; San Antonio library deploying 3M RFID tracking system; Impinj adds Chinese RFID technology firm to VAR network; EM Microelectronic announces new LF tag chips; Mikoh announces first Smart&Secure manufacturing partner.
By Andrew Price
Tags: Library
May 10, 2007The following are news announcements made during the week of May 7.

Moteiv Announces New, Smaller Mote
Moteiv Corp., a San Francisco-based provider of wireless sensor network solutions, has announced its most compact wireless sensor network node, or mote. The Tmote Mini supports the ZigBee air-interface specification for wireless sensor networks and is packaged in an industry-standard miniSDIO form factor. This allows users to insert it into any cell phone, PDA or other digital device that includes a standard SD port. Tmote Mini combines a Texas Instruments MSP430 microcontroller with a TI/Chipcon CC2420 low-power 2.4 GHz radio. The device is available in two configurations: The Standard module has 0 dBm (1mW) output power, while the Plus module's output power is +20 dBm (100mW). Both versions are compliant with the IEEE 802.15.4 Wireless Personal Area Network standard, and both can be used in networks already deployed with Moteiv's earlier Tmote Sky module. (The Chicago Fire Department is among the organizations that have used the Tmote Sky module; see Chicago Fire Dept. Tests ZigBee-based RFID System.) Moteiv says the Mini Standard's size—20 by 25.4 by 2 millimeters—makes it easy to integrate it into a variety of sensor products. The Mini Plus is slightly longer at 32 millimeters, while still compatible with the miniSDIO specification. Moteiv is selling a development kit that incorporates two Tmote Mini Standard and two Tmote Mini Plus motes, two development boards with Tmote Mini mote-cores built in (one Mini Standard and one Mini Plus) and one programming fixture allowing users to load specialized applications to the Mini hardware. It also comes with Moteiv software that includes an operating system, libraries and mesh networking software optimized for use on Moteiv's Tmote platforms. The kit costs $1,995. Additional Tmote Mini Standard and Mini Plus units can be purchased in quantities of 50 or more, though pricing for these units has not yet been released.

National Envelope Corp. Markets RF-Blocking Security Sleeve
Envelope manufacturer National Envelope Corp. has developed a new product line called Smart Card Guard. The RF-blocking sleeves are designed to hold cards or other media containing high-frequency (13.56 MHz) RFID inlays, when mailed or carried inside an individual's purse, wallet or pocket. The company is initially targeting sales to financial services companies and government agencies around the world. All major credit cards in the United States are now available with RFID inlays for making RFID-based (contactless) payments. Newly issued U.S. passports contain RFID inlays designed to hold data related to the passport holder. The U.S. State Department expects to send 17 million of these passports to citizens this year alone. The Smart Card Guard sleeves contain a thin layer of metallic material preventing the penetration of radio frequency signals directed toward the envelope, thereby making the RFID inlay unreadable. The company says the Smart Card Guard material has undergone extensive testing by InfoGard Laboratories, located in San Luis Obispo, Calif. The InfoGard tests showed that the material successfully prevented RF communications between RFID interrogators and the RFID-enabled cards inside the sleeve, National Envelope says, even when placed right against the reader's antenna. The company notes that some researchers have found a means of accessing data encoded to RFID inlays in payment and identity cards, despite the use of data encryption to secure the data.

Vendors Partner on RFID Center for Apparel
RFID systems provider ADT, Finnish logistics company Salpomec and RFID tag maker UPM Raflatac have opened an Apparel Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Solution Center in Lahti, Finland. At the facility, companies interested in deploying RFID technology to enhance supply chain management, fight counterfeiting or improve in-store retail operations, or for other applications, can watch demonstrations of numerous RFID solutions. These include source tagging, automated goods receipt, an RFID-based sorting system, replenishment and store inventory management and point-of-sale analytics and security. During the center's first year of operation, the facility's founding companies expect to provide tours to 100 garment manufacturers, brand owners, retailers and logistics providers. Visits can be arranged by e-mailing ADT, Salpomec or UPM Raflatac.

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