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Chip-size Passive RFID Tag Promises Long Range
Tagent's ultra-wideband (UWB) RFID system will be piloted in a medical laboratory, where it will track the locations of blood specimens in real time.
The system can be deployed in a number of different ways, Zawolkow says, depending on the application, and can include portals, an RTLS network, or both.
Because of its small size, the tag presents an advantage to users who might want the benefits of active UWB RFID tags (longer read range and RTLS) but who may find a battery-powered tag too large or expensive. The Talon tag will be especially useful for the lab test-tube market, Zawolkow indicates, in which active tags would not fit on the tube. In this case, for the pending pilot, Tagent will embed the RFID tags in the adhesive labels currently used by the laboratory. Those labels are printed with a patient's name and serial number, both in text and in bar-code form. Labs typically track their tubes, and the samples they contain, by reading the names and ID numbers printed on those labels, or by scanning the labels' bar codes. That system, however, does not allow for real-time location, which could be useful, for example, when there is a search for a specific blood sample.
In the case of the lab pilot, blood will be drawn and placed in the tubes. Each tube's RFID tag number is read at the time the information is input into the lab's back-end software system, linking that data to the RFID tag in the label. As they leave one location and are taken to another laboratory for testing and storage, the tubes will then pass by interrogators at several portals, consisting of two to four (or more) power nodes and a reader.
"We will be experimenting with the configuration of power nodes in the portals," Zawolkow states.
Although the tubes are in storage units, such as refrigeration, the grid of power nodes and readers deployed in the area will continually capture their location. In that way, Zawolkow says, if a blood sample needs to be accessed immediately, it can be located by logging onto a Web-based software system provided by Tagent, then viewing a display that locates the blood sample.
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