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MEMS and Sensors

Multi-sensor RFID Tags without Range Anxiety

10 May 2017

RFID Sensor Tags which can include multiple sensors in a single tag will be unveiled by Powercast Corporation (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) at RFID Journal LIVE!, May 9 – 12, in Phoenix, Arizona. The ultrahigh frequency tags provide a long read range of 10 m (32 ft).

High accuracy temperature, humidity and light sensors are now available, with more sensor types planned for the future. Tags for sensing the RFID reader’s field are also available and use an on-board LED to show field strength.RFID Sensor Tags from Powercast Corporation can include multiple sensors in a single tag.RFID Sensor Tags from Powercast Corporation can include multiple sensors in a single tag.

RFID Sensor Tags are designed for industrial and manufacturing applications where monitoring data are needed to ensure goods don’t fall outside of acceptable parameters. For example, the devices enable environmental condition monitoring throughout the shipping journey of temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals or perishable products packed with dry ice.

Two versions are now available:

  • The PCT100 enables battery-free wireless sensing and can read data within seconds.
  • The PCT200 adds a battery with the unique ability to recharge using any standard RFID reader’s field, making the tag reusable without plugging in or changing batteries. With up to one month of battery life without recharging, the PCT200 provides long-lasting data-logging capabilities while outside the RF field. Users can easily set its data read times from one minute to one hour.

Both devices can be configured with one, two, or three sensors in any combination of temperature, humidity, and light. The PCT100 can also be configured with an on-board LED for showing an RFID reader’s field strength and to verify that it is reading properly.

An RFID reader generates an electromagnetic signal, which the Tag’s NXP UCODE RFID chip captures via its receiving antenna. Powercast’s efficient RF-to-DC converter (50-75 percent conversion efficiency) then transforms the signal into energy to power the microcontroller and sensors for measuring environmental conditions. The microcontroller then forwards that data over I2C to NXP’s RFID chip for storage in user memory, which the reader can then read out of memory.

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