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Wedge Device Aims to Ease RFID Setup

Created for small and midsize businesses that use bar-code technology to identify assets, personnel or products, the product is designed to provide a low-cost means for migrating to RFID.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Mar 14, 2008Barcoding Inc., a Baltimore-based provider of auto-identification technologies, says it has developed a product that makes RFID technology more accessible to users, particularly those operating stand-alone, closed-loop auto-ID systems.

The device, known as the CaptureTech RFID Wedge, sits between any EPC Gen 2 RFID interrogator and any computer with a USB port. Its job is to filter RFID tag data and deliver that information to the host computer in a format it understands. This, says Bill Poulsen, a senior RFID engineer at Barcoding Inc., allows the user to continue using back-end software that had previously been utilized to process bar-code data, without having to make any changes to that legacy software.

The CaptureTech RFID Wedge sits between any EPC Gen 2 RFID interrogator and any computer with a USB port, filtering RFID tag data and delivering it to the host computer in a format it understands.
Veterans of auto-ID technology are familiar with the term "wedge," Poulsen says. "When bar-code scanners were first made," he explains, "they could not put the [bar-code] intelligence straight to a computer. Now, the scanners have multi-decode analyzers built into them, but at first they needed these wedge devices as well, to interface with host computers."

A number of RFID interrogators on the market have USB ports that allow users to connect the readers directly to computers, but to do so, the user must install and run special software on the computer so that it can set the reader's configurations and filter the data it collects. Barcoding Inc.'s wedge, however, does not does require the installation of any software on the computer. Poulsen likens it to a keyboard on a PC.

Similar to how the keyboard transfers keystrokes into logic that the computer's operating system understands, the wedge collects tag data from an RFID interrogator and converts it into a format that the user's legacy software comprehends. But unlike reader-networking devices made by such companies as Reva Systems, Blue Vector or Omnitrol, Barcoding Inc.'s wedge is designed to link only one interrogator to a computer.

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