Tagging gets cheaper

Radio frequency ID needs to be very inexpensive before it becomes a ubiquitous technology. Now, thanks to Motorola, it might.

Radio frequency ID (RFID) tagging isn’t a bad idea, but it’s never been inexpensive enough to find a home other than in specialised applications. It would need to be very inexpensive – indeed, disposable – before it becomes a ubiquitous technology. Now, thanks to Motorola, it might.

Motorola’s new twist on the old idea is called BiStatix, and Motorola claim that it’s bringing RFID to a new low price point. BiStatix RFID technology uses both an IC optimized for electrostatic or capacitively coupled applications as well as an antenna that can be printed on a variety of media, including paper and other non-conductive surfaces.

Motorola claim that BiStatix smart labels can be created more effectively than earlier generations of RFID systems, which required the incorporation of a costly metal coil and resonant capacitor. Furthermore, they can be read after being folded, crumpled and even ripped, and are also fully disposable. BiStatix tags can also be read without clear line of sight and are not rendered unreadable by the effects of moisture, dirt, dust or paint.

BiStatix is suited as a lower cost replacement for conventional access control cards. It’s low cost also creates new opportunities, such as high-volume, affinity access control applications such as hotel management and theme parks — applications for which RFID technology was previously cost prohibitive.

A BiStatix Access Control Reader (ACR), also developed by the company, could be integrated in a hotel door, replacing the current magnetic stripe key system. There is less wear and tear on the units since they are contactless, which translates into lower failure and error rates.

Earlier in the year, Motorola signed a memorandum of understanding with Dai Nippon Printing, one of Japan’s largest business forms manufacturers, to jointly develop and market ‘smart’ label solutions incorporating the BiStatix radio frequency identification (RFID) technology.

The BiStatix tags and associated readers, in conjunction with smart forms and labels by Dai Nippon, provide a way for companies seeking to improve their business operations in the area of tracking objects, monitoring inventory and other supply-chain related processes.

More details can be found at www.motorola.com