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RFID-enabled Device Sounds an Alarm When Someone Tries to Leave Home

The PureRFid Companion system, sold to consumers, is designed to trigger alerts when a person with dementia nears a doorway.
By Claire Swedberg
Apr 07, 2010PureRFid, a new startup created by RFID solutions provider Vuance, has launched a product for in-home use in the United States, to help families track relatives at risk for wandering away. The anti-wandering system, which acts as an audible alarm, can be installed in a home and sound an alert if someone wearing an RFID-enabled wristband nears a doorway.

The Companion anti-wandering system, which consists of a wristband and a door alarm containing an RFID interrogator, became commercially available on Apr. 2. The system can be purchased directly from PureRFid, or through resellers of health-care products. Prior to launching the Companion, the company had been testing prototypes of the system in such locations as the Vuance office, as well as at an Israeli research and development facility, says Kevin Michael, Vuance's VP of operations.

The Companion RFID wristband contains a 433 MHz active RFID tag.
Vuance decided to market a system such as this in the United States in order to provide a tool for the growing number of families caring for members suffering from Alzheimer's, or some other type of dementia, in their homes. The company's goal was to devise a system that was so simple it could be installed by users in their homes, and featured a wristband that would be comfortable and attractive enough that an individual would not mind wearing it. The door alarm is also designed to have a low profile, so that visitors would not notice it in the doorway. "It's very unobtrusive," Michael says. "It's not something you would have to explain."

The gray plastic wristband contains a 433 MHz active RFID tag (1.4 inches in width and 0.4 inch in thickness) that contains a motion detector and a battery with a life span of approximately three years. The tag uses a proprietary air-interface protocol to beacon its unique ID number every five seconds when stationary, and every three seconds while in motion. The alarm device, powered by a 12-volt adapter that plugs into a wall outlet, can be attached above a door with two-sided adhesive tape, and is designed to read a tag up to 4 feet away.

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