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Insider's BLOG from the RFID Experts

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Newest crop of RFID readers and tags blooming for spring

  
  
  
  

The ODIN engineering team made a full on assault of RFID Journal Live this year, the 10th Anniversary edition. It was clear that the show had changed significantly, from a showcase for end-users to now (indicative of the RFID market) a marketplace for software and integration companies to learn about the latest-and-greatest products to make their clients more successful in adopting RFID solutions. 

The first class of products I'll cover in this completely non-scientific review (I know, not very ODIN-like) is the latest readers. 

RFID Reader Innovations

MTI Micro RFID Reader iPHone Android

Microelectronics Technology Inc (MTI), displayed the RFID Mini ME that converts Android smartphones and tablets into UHF RFID Readers. MTI provides a low level command set API that integrates with the Android 4.0 SDK. MTI RFID ME™ GUI can be downloaded for free as an Android app at Google Play. MINI ME™ is just 38mm x 33mm x 15 mm and has adjustable output power control.

Impinj showed the Antenna Hub, a MUX device that allows a single R420 reader to control up to 32 antennas, as well as a new firmware to make integration of the MUX a seamless experience. This is ideal for areas that need blanket RF coverage in a close zone, such as RF-enabled retail shelves.

Improvements in RFID Tagging Capabilities

 

The Murata MAGICSTRAP and the NXP UCODE I2C chips are UHF chips designed for placement on a PCB of a laptop, tablet, phone or any other electronic device. Both devices come with application guides for PCB design engineers. The NXP chip communicates with the host processor over I2C, allowing pre-configuration of a device without turning it on.

PCB Tag resized 600

 

Figure 2: The Murata MAGICSTRAP on a PCB

Xerafy and Omni-ID both showed solutions for tagging hand tools by tool manufacturers. Both companies worked with Cribmaster, a division of Stanley Black and Decker to come up with methods to attach tags to sockets, wrenches, screwdrivers, and similar hand tools. This is a huge improvement over the standard approach of using adhesives and heat-shrink, which interfere with the use of the tools and are at risk of falling off.

Additionally, both Xerafy and Omni-ID showed new metal mount tags thin enough to be printed and encoded with standard RFID label printer/encoders.  Printer manufacturers said there will be some adjustment needed to make the tags print well, but not too much.  Both companies showed a tag with approximate dimensions of 4" x 1" and promised more form factors in the future.

OmniID Label MMT resized 600

RFID tags for asset tracking tools




Figure 3: Omni-ID's tool tags on right and Xerafy's printable tags on left

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