Zhenuine Introduces Consumer-Controllable RFID Tag, Online Registry

By Mark Roberti

A startup company has developed a method for making RFID tags that communicate with a reader only when a person presses a button on the tag.

Zhenuine, a startup firm based in Brooklyn, N.Y., reports that it has developed a method for making radio frequency transponders that communicate with interrogators only when a person activates the tag by pressing a button on it. According to the company, the system can be employed using passive tags operating at 125 kHz, 13.56 MHz or 860 to 960 MHz.

"This technology can be used in driver's licenses, passports and even individual items to protect the consumer's privacy," says Denny Choi, Zhenuine's president. "Consumers will only embrace RFID when they know that information on tags they hold can't be read without their consent."

The company has a patent pending for the mechanical switch on the tag, and currently has prototypes of tags operating at each of the above frequency bands. Choi expects to have samples available next month, and is presently seeking to license the technology to RFID tag manufacturers.

Zhenuine has also patented a concept for creating an online registry at which consumers can search for the unique ID number encoded to a particular product's RFID tag, in order to determine whether that item is counterfeit. Shoppers could also utilize the site to register products they purchase. If they were then to resell a purchased item on an online auction or other site, a buyer would be able to request the unique ID number of that item's RFID tag, and look up in the registry whether the seller really owned that product.

"We believe that our consumer-controllable tags and electronic registration system will foster consumer acceptance and adoption of RFID technology," Choi says.