Battery Free Sensor Tags Offer Low Barrier To Sensing Applications

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Low maintenance, and battery-free sensors make large scale sensing possible for a wide variety of industries.

Increasingly, the market demand for RFID sensors is being recognized by businesses in all sectors of our economy. Passive RFID is morphing into a powerful way to communicate sensor information and data.

A common definition of a sensor is “a device that measures a physical quantity and converts it into a signal which can be read by an observer or by an instrument.”

Flexible passive RFID tags incorporating a sensor can offer low cost, discrete, battery-free monitoring by changing ambient conditions into data.  Intelligent RFID sensor tagging of everything from automotive products to food stuffs to air vapor have begun to make our world a safer, more secure, and more comfortable place to be.

Purpose of Sensor Tags

Passive sensors will vary depending on their purpose for use.  Basically, however, passive sensors detect a change in physical elements via electromagnetic fields. When charged by an RFID reader / interrogator, the electromagnetic waves around this field will prompt the sensor tag’s integrated circuit to respond with information about the electromagnetic field of the item it is adhered to. The response from the tag is a calibrated response and sent to a reader where a software program conveys the data into usable information.

On analysis of data, either by software or human management, judgments can be made according to item and product. Programmers can tune a sensor’s antenna to filter a range of desirability and incorporate timing. For instance, if the product is wood, the sensor can reveal its state as it goes from fresh cut planks of wood to drier, cured boards based upon the electromagnetic information the sensor tag returns. Or, in another tuning scenario, if a tire is going flat and its sensor doesn't’t send a warning until the rubber meets the rim, the antenna can be tuned for an earlier warning indicating a loss of tire pressure.

Sensing Accurate Data

In reality, sensors cannot give completely accurate data: they will not identify the precise moment the wood is cured or the moment the tire is unsafe to use, but sensor engineers are working toward this kind of linearity. Those who utilize sensors in their operations, however, can fine tune their own parameters with which they want to work making for more accurate readings and more precise data.

According to Adam Cort in Assembly Magazine,

 

A smart sensor can monitor parameters such as voltage, radiation, temperature and humidity, and process this information within the sensor itself. It can identify threshold limits, process and manipulate data, and activate alarms.

 

All said, the market for this new technology will grow and Metalcraft is on board.

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