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RFID readers shrink


The world's smallest and lowest-cost 13.56MHz RFID reader has been developed by Innovision Research & Technology plc. The RFID reader module, known as io, is expected to have a unit cost one-tenth of existing readers and will extend the potential of RFID into completely new areas including consumer, healthcare, transport and logistics products.

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) readers allow devices to wirelessly interrogate and write to minute data tags that can be embedded into any device, triggering the immediate transfer of digitised information. RFID-enabled devices can contain information such as what they are, where they have been or even where they are intended to go.

Smaller than a coin, io features an on-board RISC processor, making it ideal for small-footprint devices. Combined with its low power consumption and intelligent power management, io is especially suited for small, battery-powered handheld devices. It is optimised for a 2.8V battery operation.

The io reader's small size, low cost and future-proofing for the emerging Near Field Communications (NFC) standards opens up the possibility of RFID applications in completely new areas such as healthcare and consumer goods, where the size, power consumption and cost of readers have previously been prohibitive. For example by passing your MP3 player with its built-in io reader over an NFC-enabled music poster, you could download a sample track from the advertised album instantly or even purchase the entire CD.

Other possible applications include mass-transit ticketing and baggage/parcel management systems.

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