RFID News Roundup

By Beth Bacheldor

VUEMED, Zebra partner on solution for compliance with FDA UDI regulations ••• Embytek unveils RFID-enabled Android mobile device ••• Orbiter launches ultra-wideband tag for light motorsports race timing ••• Atlas RFID Solutions releases update to Jovix materials-management solution ••• Lumi announces NFC-enabled conference management solution.

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The following are news announcements made during the past week by the following organizations:
VUEMED, Zebra Technologies;
Embytek;
Orbiter;
Atlas RFID Solutions; and
Lumi.

VUEMED, Zebra Partner on Solution for Compliance With FDA UDI Regulations

VUEMED has announced that it is partnering with Zebra Technologies to release VueTrack-UDI, an RFID solution for enabling manufacturers and hospitals to comply with unique device identification (UDI) regulations from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The FDA has established a program that leverages human- and machine-readable UDI labeling for identifying medical devices through their distribution and use (see Managing Medical Devices). Device labelers must submit information about each device to the FDA’s Global UDI Database. Current FDA regulations require that Class III medical devices have UDI labels. Class III medical devices are highly regulated “high-risk” devices—such as life-support or life-sustaining machines like pacemakers and heart valves—that are approved by the FDA for use in humans, and are also defined as those which pose a potentially unreasonable risk of illness or injury.

VueTrack-UDI is a software-as-a-service (SaaS), UDI-compliant, GS1 EPC Gen 2 passive RFID solution that uses Zebra scanners and printers to encode the RFID tag memory to UDI standards, validate the process, print the required labels, and register the UDI data with the FDA. According to VUEMED, VueTrack-UDI can be integrated into existing UDI data sources, or simply be installed as a standalone solution. VueTrack-UDI can work with any tag or or label meeting the specified RFID standards and the extended user memory required for UDI on-tag data (512 bytes). The reference spec for these tags and labels includes an Impinj 4QT chip, with a Smartrac 3D Frog inlay and special peel-off adhesive per FDA packaging requirements, according to Joe Dugan, president of the company’s VueTrack-RF division.

With VueTrack-UDI, Dugan reports, manufacturers and hospitals can immediately engage the UDI data to provide tracking of medical devices from the manufacturer through to patient point-of-use, as well as clinical systems, billing and electronic health records (EHR). The UDI data on the RFID tag enables users to find expiring and recalled products instantly, and can be integrated with clinical documentation and EHR systems. Dugan says that major medical device manufacturers and a very large Northeastern hospital are using VueTrack-UDI to track Class III, Class II and Class I devices.

Embytek Unveils RFID-enabled Android Mobile Device

Embytek, a provider of data-collection devices and related solutions headquartered in Hong Kong, has announced a new industrial RFID-enabled mobile device, known as the EBT901, that runs on the Android operating system. The device is available with various combinations of RFID readers.

The EBT901

The RFID options include ISO 14443A/B and ISO 15693 high-frequency (HF), with a read range of up to 7 centimeters (2.8 inches); EPC Class 1 Gen 2 and ISO 18000-6c ultrahigh-frequency (UHF), with a read range of up to 3 meters (9.8 feet); and low-frequency (LF), supporting 125 kHz and 134 kHz animal tags. Communications options include Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, GPRS and 2G/3G cellular, as well as Wi-Fi, complying with the IEEE 802.11n, g and b standards. The device also includes a camera and optional fingerprint module.

The handheld comes a rechargeable 4100 mah lithium polymer battery with more than 8 hours of working time. It features a 4.3-inch touch screen, a receiver, a speaker, a microphone, an infrared sensor, and an LED indicator, and weighs less than 300 grams (10.6 ounces), including the battery. The EBT910 has an IP 65 rating, meaning that testing has confirmed it to be dustproof and waterproof.

Orbiter Launches Ultra-wideband Tag for Light Motorsports Race Timing

Orbiter, a maker of race-timing systems and other products that leverage radio frequency identification, has announced a new microwave tag for the timing of electric cars, KART, Endurocross and other light motorsports vehicles. The tag employs ultra-wideband pulse (UWBP) technology, the company reports, and builds on work Orbiter carried out several years ago for Formula 1 racing using UWBP positioning.

Typically, state-of-the-art solutions for motorsports require a low-frequency (LF) wire loop antenna to be placed on the start/finish line pavement, Orbiter explains. This requires that the antenna be tuned, and if metal from a race vehicle touches it, the antenna must then be re-tuned. The LF transponders also have to be positioned exactly on the race vehicle, within 6 to 8 inches to the ground, in order to operate correctly.

With the Orbiter microwave tag, there is no need to lay a wire loop antenna and tape down to the pavement, or cut into the pavement for a permanent installation. According to Orbiter, the tag can be more easily affixed, takes only three minutes to set up, and is immune to the effects of being placed on metal, so the transponder may be placed almost anywhere on the vehicle, as long as the transponder is facing forward. The system is calibrated such that the transponders “beep” right on the start/finish line for accuracy. LF loop antennas detect 8 to 12 feet forward of that line. The new tag is also priced at about one-third the $220 cost of a typical transponder, Orbiter says, and lasts for up to three years without a recharge.

In 2011, Orbiter unveiled a power-control board and recharger that, according to the company, effectively turns a fixed ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) EPC Gen 2 RFID portal into a mobile one that can operate on battery power for up to eight hours. The board works with absorbed glass matt (AGM) high-amp hour batteries, which is generally available worldwide and is typically used with electronic wheelchairs and other assets (see Orbiter Unveils RFID Power-Control Board).

Atlas RFID Solutions Releases Update to Jovix Materials-Management Solution

Atlas RFID Solutions, a provider of field-mobility and automatic-identification solutions for industrial construction, has released an upgrade to its flagship product, Jovix, that the company says enhances the visibility of information and enables more granular management functionality. Overall, the upgrade is designed to help customers flag and resolve material-readiness issues before they impact direct labor productivity.

Jovix is an RFID-enabled construction-management solution that includes RFID readers and tags (see Omni-ID, Atlas RFID Offer New Rugged Active Tags). The solution improves overall project efficiencies, the company reports, by enabling positive material control, via access to actionable, up-to-date information regarding the availability, status and location of materials in the global supply chain.

The 2015.1 release of Jovix includes enhanced business intelligence dashboards and reporting capabilities, which can be configured to provide value for a wide range of stakeholders throughout the material lifecycle, according to the company. The key value of this new release is an expansion of the ability to quickly turn vast amounts of data into actionable information, which is displayed in a single convenient location.

This latest release also includes new features aimed at improving the ability to identify and resolve issues before they impact construction, according to Atlas RFID. The functionality included in the new release allows clients to enhance the value of their data through automated processing and graphical, exception-based presentation, the company reports. This provides visibility and accessibility to all stakeholders in a single shared view, making projects more efficient. Jovix 2015.1 includes a dashboard with configurable, personalized widgets that automate the process of highlighting issues on an exception basis in a graphical, easy-to-consume format. A series of reports linked to the dashboard charts and graphs enable users to quickly drill down into issues and initiate the resolution process, thereby saving time and money by increasing productivity and efficiency on the jobsite.

Lumi Announces NFC-enabled Conference-Management Solution

Lumi, a provider of real-time audience insight technology and solutions, has announced Lumi Track, a delegate-tracking solution that leverages Near Field Communication (NFC) RFID technology so meeting and event organizers can check in attendees, monitor their attendance and generate reports that offer insights into attendee behavior.

The solution is designed to speed up the registration process for delegates via instant attendee authentication, tracking and reports, according to the company. Attendees are checked in and out of events and sessions using an NFC-enabled mobile smartphone or tablet running the Lumi Track software. The handheld is typically placed at the entrance of the meeting or conference room, and is then used to scan each attendee’s NFC-enabled name badge, wristband or key fob.

Each check-in and/or check-out is recorded and collected in the Web-based Lumi Track Dashboard. Event organizers can access this information from any device and then use the data to track attendees during an event. The live attendance reporting helps organizers see when a room is nearing capacity. In addition to real-time analytics, the company says, Lumi Track provides organizers with in-depth reports that can be exported to Microsoft Excel.

According to Shawn Boeckman, the head of Lumi’s global marketing, the Lumi Track solution uses high-frequency (HF) RFID NFC tags operating at 13.56 MHz. He adds that Lumi Track works with any HF tag—such as those made with NXP Semiconductors‘ Mifare Ultralight chips—that support the NFC Data Exchange Format (NDEF) specification, and that can be read using an NFC-enabled Android device.

Lumi Track is primarily used with the Nexus 7 tablet (2012 version) and the Nexus 10 tablet, Boeckman says, since these models have a front-facing NFC antenna, enabling an attendee to view information once an NFC-enabled smart card is read on the device. However, he notes, any kind of Android NFC-enabled device can be used as an NFC tag scanner for Lumi Track. If a Wi-Fi connection drops, attendee data is saved on the device and is later uploaded immediately once the connection is restored, thereby ensuring that no data is lost.

Lumi Track works with multiple meeting and event formats, including annual general meetings, as well as pharmaceutical and medical meetings, all of which are legally required to monitor and record attendance.