For years we’ve been hearing about the potential for RFID technology within consumer electronics products. That promise is quickly becoming a reality.
At the RFID Live show in April, Intel announced that it is including Impinj Monza X tag chips in their tablet computer reference design for products based on Microsoft Windows 8 coming to market later this year.
Today Impinj formally unveiled its Monza® X-2K Dura and Monza X-8K Dura RFID tag chips that unlock new benefits in embedded RFID applications for consumer electronics manufacturers. By embedding RFID into tablets and other devices, manufacturers can enjoy improvements in supply chain security and efficiency, while greatly enhancing the retail customer experience.
“At Intel, we believe that embedding UHF RFID into electronics has the potential to dramatically impact not only Intel-based products, but all electronic devices,” said Shahrokh Shahidzadeh, senior principal engineer in Intel’s Software and Solutions Group, responsible for Intel’s RFID efforts. “We commissioned Impinj to develop the Monza X-2K and X-8K Dura products to help fulfill the vision we developed with our customers for embedding RFID tags.”
The new, packaged chip offerings, which are compatible with traditional printed circuit board manufacturing, feature expanded memory with flexible configuration and control along with an added digital wireline interface for direct communication with other on-board components such as microprocessors or sensors.
While a microprocessor can access the Monza X chip’s memory under powered operation, an RFID reader can access the Monza X chip’s memory even when the board is powered off. This dual memory access allows users, device manufacturers and service providers to control the functionality of an electronic device by modifying memory contents wirelessly via RFID, then reading this configuration information via the wireline link at power-up.
The Monza X Dura chips enable a wide range of applications for electronics, including device locking in the supply chain to deter theft, changing device configuration, such as country or language settings, and controlling functionality based on the location of a device, such as in a retail store, library or secure facility.
Other capabilities include using the digital wireline interface to connect environmental sensors, which can store data in the Monza X chip’s memory and later communicate that information via RFID to a reader.
Impinj demonstrated two use cases using the Monza X-2K Dura at RFID Live. The first application demonstrated how Monza X chips enable electronic price tags that can be updated wirelessly using existing RFID infrastructure or handheld readers in retail stores. This capability automates the price-updating process, reducing costs and human error. The second application showed how Intel uses Monza X chips in their reference designs for Windows 8 tablets to deter theft by locking the tablet while in transit. Here, the Monza X chip configures the tablet as “unusable” until an RFID reader encodes the Monza X chips memory appropriately at point of sale. Impinj also demonstrated how retailers can load gift cards or special offers onto the tablet at point of sale through the Monza X chip while the tablet is still in its unopened box and powered off.
“This new class of UHF RFID tag chips opens numerous new markets and applications for embedding RFID into electronics,” said Kerry Krause, vice president of marketing at Impinj. “In addition to our collaboration with Intel and support for their customers, we are seeing diverse interest for innovative applications enabled by Monza X-2K and X-8K Dura chips. We commend Intel for their pioneering vision and efforts in this area.”
Click here for more information on the Impinj Monza X tag line, including an informational video.