IDS Microchip Announces RFID Data Logger and Sensor

April 8, 2010

The groundbreaking single-chip device enables an array of medical-, food-, healthcare-, and environmental-supervision applications that ensure quality and/or freshness.

WOLLERAU, Switzerland /BUSINESS WIRE/ -- IDS Microchip, a fabless semiconductor company focused on all aspects of radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology, began shipping development kits to early adopters for a "first-of-its-kind RFID sensor and data logging chip," the IDS-SL900A. Based on the popular EPC Gen2 standard for supply chain applications, the new single-chip solution enables a vast new array of medical, food, healthcare, and environmental-supervision applications that ensure quality and/or freshness. Like its high-frequency (HF) version, the IDS-SL13A, introduced last year, it can automatically track, monitor, time-stamp, and record temperature, pressure, humidity, light, sound, and other information about any goods in supply chain or cold chain transport. However, "unlike any other RFID solution, it also can be configured to notify users automatically of an event." This event-driven capability enables various applications in the cold chain, pharmaceutical, and food, and health industries, as well as applications in the construction industry, and makes it possible to determine the conditions of materials used, in an economical, noninvasive, and practical way. "The IDS-SL900A's sensor reading range of up to 5 or 6 meters is at least triple that of other data monitors/loggers." IDS Microchip will demonstrate the new IDS-SL900A at RFID Journal LIVE! 2010 in Orlando, FL, Apr. 14–16, and at Euro ID 2010 in Cologne, Germany, May 4–6, 2010.

Oluf Alminde, Director of Sales and Marketing at IDS Microchip, said, "The new SL900A chip and sensor helps prevent the use of expired or faulty goods that could endanger people's lives. For example, in medical and healthcare applications, its automatic alarm can be set to warn users when freshness dates expire for food or pharmaceutical items, such as insulin in the fridge, or for goods on store shelves. In terms of environmental safety, the SL900A sensor can be used to detect humidity in concrete instantly and effortlessly—replacing costly bridge closings, traffic reroutes, and jack-hammering, for example, with accurate assessment simply by driving across a bridge roadbed that has the chip embedded in it. The SL900A eliminates hassles and keeps people safer."

Sophisticated Event-Driven Function
The SL900A event-driven monitoring function is a powerful feature that allows a user to define a trigger for an event based on temperature, pressure, humidity, or other values. So whether an application requires triggering an event for perishable goods decay, measuring the effect of humidity and pressure on a metal rod in a concrete slab, or starting a safety routine in case of chemical anomaly, the SL900A integrated circuit meets that need.

A 60-byte user-defined look-up table is stored in the integrated EEPROM and works with either the on-chip temperature sensor or two possible external sensors to determine the user-defined event. The SL900A works in semi-passive (battery-assisted) or fully passive modes. The chip is also ideal for applications that use thin and flexible batteries (1.5 V or 3 V) for autonomous logging from the integrated temperature sensor or external sensors, with a time-stamp from the on-chip real-time clock. It supports delayed starts of nine minutes to 24 days for logging procedures. Alternatively, pressing a start button also could start the logging.

The on-chip sensor front end for external sensors provides an auto-range and interrupt function. In addition to Gen2 lock protection, the SL900A provides read/write protection using three sets of passwords for three memory areas: system, application, and measurement area. The UHF reader chip, R902DRM, complements the SL900A in building complete RFID tracking and data logging systems. It enables battery-powered, small form-factor handheld and embedded UHF reader systems. Its dense reader mode function prevents reading conflicts in a multi-reader environment.

Development Kit
The SL900A development kit is a complete system (UHF reader and smart active label). It includes demo application and graphical user interface software with source codes, a comprehensive library of frequently asked questions, and application notes and hints that eliminate cumbersome implementation of RFID technology, saving time and effort. The development kit is backed by a support team with in-depth knowledge to make RFID easy and manageable.

Pricing and Availability
The IDS-SL900A development kit is shipping now. Series production is planned for Q3 2010. Pricing is less than $3 per chip, approximately one-tenth the price of other data logger/sensor modules.

About IDS Microchip
Fabless semiconductor company IDS Microchip is the "only company focused on all silicon aspects of RFID technology to help client/partners achieve cost-effective solutions. Its comprehensive portfolio comprises wireless and sensor-enabled integrated circuits and IP for highly integrated low-power RFID systems, including readers, enhanced tags, and labels for both HF and UHF systems. Founded in 1996 and privately funded, IDS Microchip is headquartered in Wollerau, Switzerland, with an office in Toronto and distributors throughout the world.

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