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Mojix Takes Passive UHF RFID to a New Level

The startup draws on RF expertise from deep-space signal processing to create a system that it says will offer improved performance, new capabilities and lower deployment costs.
By Mark Roberti
Each STAR receiver can be connected to 512 eNodes. Every eNode has its own antenna for emitting RF energy, and can excite hundreds or thousands of tags within a 30-foot radius; the STAR reads the energy from tags as far as 600 feet away, and because it can focus on receiving signals from various directions, one STAR can cover a 250,000-square-foot area. Within a single STAR's coverage area, a retailer could have eNodes covering, for instance, handbags at the front of a store and designer jackets at the back.

The Mojix system can provide coarse or fine location data. The system can be set up to simply indicate to back-end software that a tagged item is in a particular eNode's read zone (coarse location data). Because Mojix uses steerable phased-array antennas, the system is also designed to be able to identify tags' locations in 3-D to within a 1-foot radius (the actual precision varies depending on the environment, as well as on the nature of the tagged item).

Companies would need to map this location to a particular shelf location. But the ability to locate a tag in 3-D space, combined with the ability to cover a large area, makes the system suitable for organizations that need to cover large numbers of dock doors, a sizable warehouse, a store's back room or an entire sales floor. The eNodes could be set up in several areas of a warehouse or retail outlet to power up tags on high-value goods in those locations.

A single STAR receiver could read the signals from tags in those areas, informing employees where items are located to within about a foot, or indicate which items are in the wrong location. And more eNodes could be added to create additional coverage areas over time, without requiring additional STAR devices (provided the new locations are within the STAR's 250,000-square-foot read range).

Additionally, Mojix has developed the concept of "eGroups" to address the problem of being unable to read tags attached to cases in the middle of pallets of RF-unfriendly materials, such as water or metal. The eGroup approach—which uses conventional EPC Gen 2 UHF tags—can also be employed to secure shipments, for electronic proof of delivery and as an anticounterfeiting measure.

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