Researchers from North Carolina State University are looking for industry partners to help commercialize new technology that allows them to make RFID tags in smaller form factors. The researchers say that new developments will enable them to produce a tag that is 25 percent smaller than current versions – making tags less expensive and opening up new opportunities to tag items that are small and also less expensive.
Although the passive RFID tags have less read range than current tags, researchers are confident that future generations of the tags will have similar read ranges to those on the market today.
Passive RFID tags are commonplace in the retail industry, where they are used to provide better visibility into inventory. They are also used for asset tracking in many industries.
“By eliminating the hardware that is used to convert the AC signal to DC for powering the circuit, we are able to make the RFID tag much smaller and less expensive,” says Paul Franzon, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at NC State, and senior author of a paper on the work.
The smaller form factor is possible because the tags do not need to convert alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC) in order for the tags to function effectively.
With passive RFID, a “reader” transmits a radio signal that is picked up by the RFID tag. The tag converts the AC of the radio signal into DC in order to power internal circuits. Those circuits control the signal that is bounced back to the reader.