Offering more to RFID than just ID
In a conversation with RFID & Wireless IoT Global, Pierre Muller, Technical Leader of the RFID BU at EM Microelectronic introduces em|aura-sense, the brand-new augmented RFID product for wireless sensing applications.
Although the IoT is currently on the rise, wireless sensors use cases are limited by the presence of costly, high-maintenance and environmentally-unfriendly batteries.
EM Microelectronic, Swatch Group’s semiconductor manufacturer specialized in ultra-low power and sensing applications has met the challenge of developing a fully-passive UHF RFID sensing chip, cheaper, more environmentally-friendly and sustainable solution that enables new applications with the em|aura-sense.
Augmented RFID Product Line
“EM sees the potential behind passive UHF RFID to provide much more than just an ID, by upgrading from a simple end-node to a data-gathering sensor with a communication pipe. We decided to extend our existing sensor product line with passive UHF RFID sensors that we refer to as Augmented RFID,” Pierre Muller emphasizes.
The em|aura-sense is a batteryless smart sensing device integrating a capacitive sensor interface. It can be used as a standard UHF tag and can be dropped in and seamlessly integrated into an existing RAIN RFID deployment. The chip used is fully passive, with a high reading sensitivity performance.
The antenna sensitivity lies at -20dBm comparable to the state-of-the-art RAIN RFID products on the market, while the sensitivity for sensing is -18 dBm, enabling long distance sensor data acquisition. The chip will detect the change in capacity within the range of the specifications from approximately 0 to 15 pF, allowing to easily manufacture the capacitive sensor on an inlay.
Bringing Benefits to Many Applications
The em|aura-sense is perfectly suited for a variety of use-cases such as moisture sensing or switch detection. Particularly in the automotive industry, logistics, construction it enables detecting water leaks, ease diagnostic and enable predictive maintenance. In healthcare and wellness, it enables appropriate care and waste reduction, while boosting performance and enabling smart water usage in smart agriculture.
Data Quality and Ease of Use: One Read, One Measure
em|aura-sense makes sensing easy. Pierre Muller elaborates: “Our solution is very simple to deploy and operate even by non-expert users, dramatically lowering the bar for adoption. Its robustness against environmental disturbances and high linearity, combined with simple data reading in one command finally make it accessible to everyone”.
“As EM has already done it a number of times in the past, including by pioneering UHF RFID, we see this product leading to a new standard used by everyone and allowing simple, seamless integration of additional sensors. The focus lies on interoperability, making the product as easy as possible for the customer to integrate into their systems.”
The main challenges here are the retrieval of good quality data in batteryless environment and the ease of getting access to these data. To ensure data quality, energy conditions are monitored during acquisition and quality is reported as part of the data, removing the need to post process data or do additional acquisitions.
‘Sense at Boot’, 'Sense at Select' or 'Sense at Write'
em|aura-sense offers 3 modes of operation fully supported by the ISO standard 18000-6C for EPC Gen2v2 (aka RAIN RFID) guaranteeing ease of deployment and integration:
- Sense at Boot
- Sense at Select
- Sense at Write
This provides system integrators with the needed flexibility to achieve maximum system performance across all use cases.
em|aura-sense is setting a new reference for Green IoT by enabling simple and cost-effective passive sensor integration into RAIN RFID infrastructure. The product is now available in volume and supported by numerous tag manufacturers and infrastructure partners.