Imec, Holst Centre and their partners have developed an RFID circuit made in low-temperature thin-film technology that enables reader-talks-first communication, enabling item-level tags on the packaging of retail consumer goods.
Traditional RFID tags with such thin-film chips on plastic are based on tag-talks-first principle; as soon as the RFID tags gets powered from the RF field of the RFID reader, it transmits its code to the reader. Many tags will try to contact the reader at the same time, requiring an effective anti-collision mechanism.
With this reader-talks-first technology, when the RFID reader first powers and contacts the tag, it transmits a clock and identification data. The tag then uses this data and clock to determine when to send its code, thereby allowing a practical anti-collision scheme for thin-film RFID tags.
Thin-film electronics are circuits that are made up of organic and metal-oxide molecules. They have the potential to be produced inexpensively – intelligent enough and cheap enough to be printed and used on mass-produced retail products.
The tags are designed to support various retail applications, allowing vendors to implement automated billing and inventory management, or provide buyers with information on e.g. price, characteristics, or freshness.