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MTI Creates EPC Gen 2 USB Reader for Retailer Applications

Microelectronics Technology Inc. says retailers can use its device to do such things as activate the electronic products they sell, as well as access product information from the Internet.
By Claire Swedberg
The RU-888-100 offers other options as well. For "Smart Theft Protection," tags with NXP's G2iL+ chips must be used. Such tags have a digital-switch function allowing users to communicate directly with an electronic product in which such a chip is installed. For the Smart Theft Protection application, the tag would be need to be embedded in an electronic device or appliance, hardwired to the device's microcontroller.

The digital switch can be employed to activate and deactivate that electronic product at the required time, such as at the point of sale. Thus, the device simply would not operate until that product's microcontroller received instructions from the G2iL+ chip to do so. Therefore, a retailer could employ the RU-888-100 to activate a piece of equipment, such as a phone, a printer or some other electronic device.

Prince also predicts the reader could be utilized by retailers for such purposes as activating features on a loyalty card, or activating an LED on a card with a semi-passive RFID tag to alert the cardholder of an action. If, for example, a coffee shop provided a free cup of coffee after 10 purchases, when the tenth purchase was made, the RU-888-100 would instruct the card's tag, at the point of sale, to illuminate that LED, in order to alert the consumer.

Although single samples of the RU-888-100 will cost nearly $200, Prince says, the company's goal is to sell the device at well under $100 apiece in larger volumes. The new reader, he adds, has the potential to make RFID technology available to those who have, until now, resisted investing in the technology due to the cost involved. "Our goal," he states, "is to make RFID global, affordable, mobile and enabling."

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