RFID News Roundup

By Admin

Texas Instruments debuts half-duplex 134.2 kHz mini-transponders; Visonic Technologies intros hybrid tag for RTLS and access control; Nintendo to add NFC to Wii U controller; Blue Bite deploys national NFC-enabled marketing campaign for HotelTonight; Mexico's federal tolling authority installs RFID; Blue Spark Technologies opens new production facility for printed batteries.


The following are news announcements made during the past week.

Texas Instruments Debuts Half-Duplex 134.2 kHz Mini-Transponders

Texas Instruments has announced that it has developed a tiny 12-millimeter-long (0.5-inch-long) half-duplex RFID mini-transponder enabling customers to embed tags into smaller objects across a range of applications. The TRPGR30TGC and TRPGP40TGC models, which TI dubs the world’s smallest half-duplex mini-transponder, are hermetically encapsulated in glass and support the ISO 11784 and ISO 11785 RFID standards so customers can create compatible products that can be read by 134.2 kHz ISO-compliant readers. The mini-transponders, according to the company, have a read range of up to 20 inches; are durable enough for use in such applications as tracking tools, medical instruments, packages and inventory; are safe enough for use in fish and livestock tracking, as well as pet identification; and are expected to work for up to 30 years. The tags can be used in both fresh and salt water environments, the company reports, and provides high resistance to noise through frequency-shift keying (FSK) modulation, as well as consistent performance through parametric testing and electronic resonance tuning, performed on each mini-transponder throughout the production cycle. Each TRPGR30TGC tag is pre-programmed with a 64-bit unique ID number for industrial applications and asset tracking, and can be fully encapsulated in carbon fiber (bicycle frames, aerospace, automotive applications). The TRPGP40TGC has 80 bits of memory that can be programmed by users for livestock, pet and fish applications, according to ISO 11784 and 11785 RFID standard. The mini-transponders are available now, priced at $2.90 each for an order of 1,000. Also available is an evaluation kit for the transponder, known as MRD2EVM, including a USB Stick Reader/Writer, and supporting all functions of Texas Instruments’ RFID tags, such as reading and writing, as well as programming the TRPGP40TGC mini-transponders.

Visonic Technologies Intros Hybrid Tag for RTLS and Access Control

Visonic Technologies (VT), a division of Tyco Security Products, has announced the availability of its new Elpas Quad-Tech Personal Badge, a hybrid active/passive tag designed for real-time locating system (RTLS) and access-control applications. The badge works with the company’s Elpas RTLS solution, and contains a 433 MHz active RFID tag for real-time zone location, an infrared receiver for room and sub-room tracking accuracy, and a 125 kHz low-frequency (LF) passive RFID transponder for instant doorway and pinpoint location visibility. The badge, offered in the form of a photo ID, provides RTLS visibility down to sub-room level accuracy, along with duress-call signaling for workers that may be at risk of workplace-related attacks or injuries, either in designated areas or throughout a facility. The badge also works as a standard proximity ID card that can interoperate with most legacy access-control building systems. According to the company, the hybrid badge goes beyond traditional access-control systems used to monitor and restrict building access, as well as for time and attendance applications, by adding the element of staff visibility via the RTLS. With the badge, an individual can press a call button to discreetly summon help if needed, and the Elpas RTLS will determine that person’s identity and the precise sub-room location. According to Visonic, the system can provide security personnel with the real-time whereabouts of the tagged individuals, which can then be graphically overlaid onto the relevant floor plans. In addition, automated location alerts can be delivered around-the-clock to specific security responders, regarding the location and safety status of the protected individual.

Nintendo to Add NFC to Wii U Controller

At Nintendo‘s Third Quarter Financial Results Briefing, held on Jan. 27, 2012, Satoru Iwata, the videogame company’s president, announced that his firm is adding a Near Field Communication (NFC) RFID reader to the controller for its forthcoming Wii U gaming system, due out during the 2012 holiday season. In addition to providing NFC functionality, the Wii U gaming controller will also feature a touch screen, a pinpoint stylus, control pads and circle pads on both sides, a rechargeable battery, a camera, a microphone, speakers and more. The Wii U gaming console will support game play via a high-definition television or video monitor, while the controller is designed to allow a player to continue a gaming session by displaying the game even when the TV is turned off. “By installing this [NFC] functionality,” Iwata said, “it will become possible to create cards and figurines that can electronically read and write data via noncontact NFC, and to expand the new play format in the video-game world. Adoption of this functionality will enable various other possibilities, such as using it as a means of making micropayments.”

Blue Bite Deploys National NFC-Enabled Marketing Campaign for HotelTonight

Blue Bite has announced that HotelTonight is leveraging BlueBite technology to promote its mobile application, which consumers can use to find last-minute hotel deals. Blue Bite joined forces with RMG Networks, a digital media company that provides mobile and out-of-home (OOH) services, and mobile advertising firm Amobee to deliver an NFC-enabled national marketing campaign that lets consumers download the HotelTonight application simply by tapping Blue Bite’s proprietary mTag placard. The mTag system lets consumers who have NFC-enabled phones (such as the Nexus S, co-developed by Google and Samsung) access information, promotional materials and coupons by tapping their phones against NFC-enabled placards (see Blue Bite Launches NFC Solution for Providing Content to Cell Phones). The mTag placard measures 8 inches by 5 inches, and has an adhesive layer on one side, with a logo, a Quick Response (QR) 2-D bar code and text, such as “tap here,” printed on the other. Embedded in each mTag is UPM RFID‘s UPM BullsEye NFC passive 13.56 MHz RFID inlay, designed for tokens, NFC stickers and smart posters, and featuring an antenna 1.4 inches in diameter. According to Blue Bite, HotelTonight ran the NFC-enabled campaign for six weeks across a handful of major U.S. cities. Amobee utilized RMG Networks locations outfitted with Blue Bite’s mTag platform to reach HotelTonight’s core demographic. Mobile-phone users walking through any of the eight major U.S. airports or hundreds of busy downtown metro café locations running the campaign were able to view a 30-second video promoting the application on one of RMG’s digital screens, Blue Bite reports. If interested, consumers then had the option of tapping their NFC handsets on Blue Bite’s mTag located in the venue in order to immediately download the HotelTonight app. Consumers without NFC on their mobile phones could also download the app using a QR Code, Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. During the six-week campaign period, Blue Bite notes, HotelTonight achieved more than 15,000 unique mobile engagements, 5,000 unique handset engagements with Apple iPhone and Android devices, and more than 50 percent of Blue Bite interactions resulting in a HotelTonight application download.

Mexico’s Federal Tolling Authority Installs RFID

RFID provider Sirit, Axiompass, an integrator and supplier of tolling equipment and RFID systems, and Mexico’s Federal Tolling Authority, Caminos y Puentes Federales de Ingresos y Servicios Conexos (CAPUFE), have jointly announced that they have installed the nation’s first toll-free system using Sirit RFID readers. The implementation leverages Sirit’s IDentity 5100 multi-protocol reader that can interrogate different radio frequency protocols, including the ISO 18000-6C standard, which is being integrated into every vehicle in Mexico as part of the country’s National Public Vehicle Registry (REPUVE). This electronic vehicle registration initiative requires all cars, trucks, buses and other public vehicles, as well as automobile manufacturers and importers, to participate in the countrywide vehicle-identification program. The IDentity 5100 unit can also read RFID tags complying with the ISO 18000-6B and ISO 10374 standards (such tags are currently being utilized on all federal toll roads operated by CAPUFE). In September 2011, following a public bid process, the Mexican government and the nation’s Federal Ministry of Communications and Transportation announced that CAPUFE had awarded Axiompass the project to install exclusive lanes on three toll plazas, thereby enabling the residents of five municipalities in the southern Sonora State of Mexico to be exempted from toll payment in that region. Residents of these municipalities will use the REPUVE tag, which will automatically open tollbooth barriers when read by the RFID interrogator, at speeds of approximately 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) per hour. In 2009, Sirit and Axiompass were involved in an RFID development designed to help improve security and safety on roads throughout the country (see RFID News Roundup: Mexico Installs RFID-enabled Electronic Vehicle Registration System).

Blue Spark Technologies Opens New Production Facility for Printed Batteries

Blue Spark Technologies, a manufacturer of printed, thin batteries, has opened a new high-volume printing and production facility in West Bend, Wisc. The new facility extends Blue Spark’s capability to produce large volumes of its line of disposable, flexible carbon zinc batteries, the company reports, in order to meet the growing demand for printed electronics that power innovations in commercial and industrial packaging. Blue Spark’s ultra-thin carbon zinc batteries are used as a power source in a host of traditional and printed electronics applications, as well as in interactive packaging for consumer goods, such as food and pharmaceutical products; battery-assisted RFID and RF-linked sensor solutions for tracking products, assets and individuals; smart cards providing transactional authentication and security; and a host of interactive printed media products, such as books, magazines, posters, greeting cards and apparel. In 2009, for example, Blue Spark Technologies announced that it was helping to develop a battery-assisted passive (BAP) RFID tag (see RFID News Roundup: UPM Raflatac, Blue Spark Technologies Team Up on BAP R&D). BAP tags, also known as semi-passive tags, are designed to provide greater read range and reliability than purely passive tags. The new production facility, which has a current capacity estimated at more than 300 million batteries annually, will help Blue Spark Technologies meet the growing customer demand and expected growth in the worldwide market for printed electronics, according to the company.