Wednesday, April 28, 2010

RFID Madness

Lufthansa Expands RFID Use

The airline's various divisions are using Mojix RFID hardware to track aircraft-part maintenance and hazardous cargo, while testing the use of handheld readers and its own tags to track safety devices on planes.

New RFID Tag Could Mean the End of Bar Codes


Lines at the grocery store might become as obsolete as milkmen, if a new tag that seeks to replace bar codes becomes commonplace.

sciencenewsResearchers from Sunchon National University in Suncheon, South Korea, and Rice University in Houston have built a radio frequency identification tag that can be printed directly onto cereal boxes and potato chip bags. The tag uses ink laced with carbon nanotubes to print electronics on paper or plastic that could instantly transmit information about a cart full of groceries.

“You could run your cart by a detector and it tells you instantly what’s in the cart,” says James M. Tour of Rice University, whose research group invented the ink. “No more lines, you just walk out with your stuff.”

RFID tags are already used widely in passports, library books and gadgets that let cars fly through tollbooths without cash. But those tags are made from silicon, which is more expensive than paper and has to be stuck onto the product as a second step.

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Malaysian Oil Rig Deploys RFID for Man-Down Monitoring

Axcess International developed the system, which features personnel badges containing active RFID tags and motion sensors to detect if a worker stops moving.

By Claire Swedberg

Apr. 28, 2010—An oil company that asked to remain unnamed has begun installing an RFID-based "Man-Down" monitoring and locating system on an oil-drilling platform in Malaysia. The firm plans to soon begin providing badges to its dozens of high-risk workers for each shift on the platform, to track when they become inactive, possibly indicating injury. Axcess International Inc. developed the system specifically for this customer, based on its own existing DotWireless technology, but is now offering it to other oil companies, as well as those in other industries, such as mining, says Axcess' CEO, Allan Griebenow.

Axcess International offers wireless credential solutions to oil companies and other customers, and provides badges that employees can wear, as well as interrogators and software to interpret data from those badges, thereby allowing management to better track workers' locations as they come and go during their shifts. Users can install portal readers, or use handheld interrogators, at such locations as mustering areas, in the event of a drill or emergency. In that way, companies can track when staff members arrive, where they are working, and when they report to a mustering area. In 2009, one of Axcess' customers—the oil company with a platform in Malaysia—requested a better solution to track the status of its workers in high-risk jobs, thus allowing it to receive an automatic alert if an individual seems to have been injured.

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