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Category: RFID, Automated Data Collection, and Internet of Things

RFID, AIDC and IoT New Round Up for June 5, 2019


Researchers Claim Chipless RFID  Breakthrough; RFRain Says It has New Out of the Box Reader; Australian Grocer going with 2D Bar Codes for Meat


June 5, 2019
SCDigest Editorial Staff

Below are three of the top stories in automated data collection, RFID and the Internet of Things in recent weeks.

New Chipless RFID Might Reduce Costs

Researchers at Universite Grenoble Alpes, Le Laboratoire de Conception et d'Integration des Systemes (Valence, France) have developed a chipless RFID system (without ICs) using ultrawideband (UWB) signals.'

Today, RFID tags involve use of an IC connected to an antenna. That adds to the cost of the tag, making RFID difficult to cost justify in many applications, especially for low value goods.

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Woolworth's move will also prevent affected batches - as well as out-of-date product - from being sold to a customer.

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Finding a way to eliminate the IC would certainly reduce tag costs. The Grenoble Alpes scientists claim to have done that with an approach that uses a unique circuit pattern on a printed-circuit board (PCB), which is picked up by RFID reader.

Their research was recently published in the IEEE Microwave journal.

Getting technical, the RFID reader transmits low-power, wideband signals into an area to read the tag, measuring and analyzing backscattered signals from the tag to obtain information about it according to what is coded by the circuit pattern.

However, this UWB approach is not compatible with traditional RFID systems, which use narrowband signals.

Whether this research leads to commercialized, lower costs RFID reading solutions is anyone's guess at this point.

RFRain says New Reader Starts Working Out of the Box

RFID hardware and software provider RFRain LLC (Sarasota, FL) this week announced the launch of the what it claims is the world's first plug-and-play Smart Reader, called RFR-RAIN-4-SMART.

The solution combines an RFID reader with an integrated gateway that is ready for use right out of the box in applications such as overhead installation to track assets in and out of specific areas of a warehouse, installed on forklifts and in transportation solutions, smart cabinets, conveyor belts, checkout systems in smart stores, and others.

RFRain says its Smart Reader does not require additional hardware or software to enable a user to start monitoring assets in real time using its Zone Manager software that comes pre-installed on the reader. The RFR-RAIN-4-SMART is Rain Communication Interface (RCI) compliant, and integrates easily with existing enterprise software systems.''

The Smart Reader can read tags to a distance of about 80 feet. List price for a basic unit starts at $899.

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Australia's Woolworths to Test 2D Bar Codes on Poultry, Meat Products

Australian grocer Woolworths will put 2D bar codes on fresh meat and poultry products sold in supermarkets nationally from August to aid in product recalls and prevent expired products from being sold.

2D bar codes "store data in two dimensions, rather than in just a series of black and white bars." The most well-known example of a 2D barcode is the QR code.

Woolworths said in a statement that it is working with meat packer Hilton Foods and poultry giant Ingham's on the trial.

The 2D bar codes embed information about the product's batch, supplier and use-by date, among other data.

Woolworths expects the barcodes - which it is implementing alongside standards-setter GS1 - to aid in product recalls.

"Currently, the product recall process requires all recalled products to be removed from supermarket shelves and disposed of," the supermarket operator said.

"The information supplied by 2D bar codes will allow retailers to pinpoint the specific batch affected and trace it back through the production line, making it easier to identify the source of contamination and avoid sending unaffected products to landfill," Woolworth's added in its press release.

The move will also prevent affected batches - as well as out-of-date product - from being sold to a customer.

"The ability to add expiry and best before dates to a product's barcode will help eliminate any risk of retailers selling out of date products to customers by removing the need for team members to manually label products," Woolworths said, adding that "When scanned at the point of sale, customers will be alerted that the product is past its expiry date and the system won't allow the purchase."

Woolworths said that the bar codes were also found on other product lines.

"A number of other suppliers across health and beauty, freezer and long-life categories have introduced 2D bar codes in anticipation of future barcode adoption," it said.

The release also said that "Woolworths will work with industry bodies and suppliers to develop a phased roll out plan to help ensure more suppliers can adopt the new printing technologies."

Any reaction to the stories in this week' roundup? Let us know your thoughts at the Feedback section below.


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