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NXP Introducing New LF Chip for Livestock, Asset Tracking

Compliant with the ISO 11784 and 11785 standards, the new IC offers an anti-collision algorithm so multiple tags can be read simultaneously, and read-write speeds that are twice as fast as those supported by other LF chips.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Nov 20, 2008NXP Semiconductors has developed a new RFID chip for low-frequency (LF) passive RFID transponders compliant with the ISO 11784 and 11785 standards, and designed for animal tracking as well as for industrial logistics operations. According to the company, the new chip, known as the HITAG µ (pronounced "micro"), offers significant benefits: an anti-collision algorithm that can be used to read more than one tag in the same reader's field, and read-write speeds twice as fast as those supported by other LF chips currently on the market.

"This will bring low-frequency [tag] technology to the next level," says Bernd Tetyczka, NXP's HITAG product manager. The HITAG µ is the latest in NXP's family of HITAG chips. The HITAG S, the new chip's predecessor, also supported an anti-collision algorithm, but NXP officials say this function was "not targeted for the animal ID market and not used there."

NXP's HITAG µ chip

Governments worldwide have passed a growing number of mandates and recommendations involving the use of RFID to track cattle, sheep, swine, poultry and other animals. Because an LF tag's read distance is short—a matter of centimeters—electronically capturing the ID encoded to a tag embedded in an animal generally requires the use of a handheld interrogator or a narrow gate reader through which only a single adult cow or other large animal passes at one time. Smaller animals could move through a narrow gate reader two at a time, but without an anti-collision algorithm, the interrogator is unable to capture both tag IDs reliably.

Tags manufactured with the HITAG µ chip could enable livestock producers to read multiple tags on smaller animals as they pass through gates, provided that the tags are close enough to the interrogator. Or, NXP reports, an adult cow would be able to pass through a gate reader along with a small calf.

Australia, for instance, represents a strong potential market for tags made with the HITAG µ, according to NXP. That nation's National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) has approved the use of radio frequency identification as part of its mandatory livestock-tracking program. Australia's large domestic animal market has more than 26 million cattle, but more than 120 million sheep (see Australian Sheep Farmers Explore RFID's Benefits).

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