Tag Archives: RFID Tags

This wearable device is bringing everyday objects to life

TagMe is an easy-to-use toolkit for turning personal info into an extended communications interface.

Created by MIT Media Lab’s Fluid Interfaces Group, TagMe is an end-user toolkit for easy creation of responsive objects and environments. It consists of a wearable device that is capable of recognizing the object or surface a user is touching through the use of RFID stickers. These tags are read by an RFID bracelet whenever the user comes in close proximity of the item.


“We present a novel approach to create simple and customizable rules based on emotional attachment to objects and social interactions of people. Using this simple technology, the user can extend their application interfaces to include physical objects and surfaces into their personal environment, allowing people to communicate through everyday objects in very low effort ways,” its team writes.

The wearable was 3D-printed using ABS materials, and its electronic components were embedded on one half of the bracelet, while a battery was placed on the other half. Both halves were then connected via a magnetic closing system. The bracelet also includes an Android application that interfaces with Facebook, Twitter, email and SMS.

“To endow the bracelet with the communication capability between the application and RFID tags, we used different types of electronic components. One of our goals was to make the bracelet as small and lightweight as possible so as to be comfortable being worn on the wrist all day.”


In order to accomplish this, the team used a mini RFID reader along with an ATmega168 MCU to control the entire system, a Bluetooth module to facilitate wireless communication and a polymer Lithium-ion battery to power the device.

According to its creators, TagMe can be implemented in a variety of applications, ranging from healthcare and personal relationships to home automation. The system can be used to create convenient “emergency” buttons, like in the event of a car accident, where by simply touching a tag, a notification is sent directly to 911 dispatchers. Beyond that, a social aspect of the project can enable reminders of things, people and places, or be deployed to stay in touch with friends and loved ones. For instance, every time a user touches a present that someone gave to them, an alert is sent to that person.

Want to learn more? You can read the project’s entire paper here, and watch it in action below.

Atmel and SMARTRAC team up on animal ID applications

Couple months back, analysts at IDTechEx revealed that the total RFID market was worth $8.89 billion this year — up from $7.77 billion in 2013 and $6.96 billion in 2012 — and forecasted to rise to $27.31 billion over the next 10 years. In particular, animal tagging deployments have grown tremendously in recent years with 425 million tags being used for this sector in 2014 alone due to an increase in legal requirements across a number of regions.


To meet this growing demand, Atmel has teamed with global RFID tech leader SMARTRAC to market low-frequency (LF) transponders and inlays for animal identification worldwide.

Recent studies have even highlighted the lucrative potential of wearable tech for pets and livestock including ultrasound-delivering treatment patches, electronic saddle optimization for horses, as well as collars capable of tracking, identifying and diagnosing.


The selected Atmel ATA5575M2 RFID IC supports both ISO11784 and ISO11785 standards, using the FDX-A and FDX-B formats for animal ID. In fact, it is the only RFID solution available that supports FDX-A, the animal identification standard using full duplex 125 KHz technology with FSK modulation. This IC is a fully-programmable read/write (R/W) ASSP (read/write application specific standard product) that implements all important functions for identification systems in the animal tagging, industrial automation and consumer segments. The device allows the contactless reading and writing of data transmitted bi-directionally between both the read/write interrogator (reader) and the transponder.

SMARTRAC has chosen the Atmel ATA5575 as the unique IC supports both aforementioned technologies in a single, flexible integrated device.


Additionally, the solution is offered in several different delivery forms, ranging from the common sawn wafer on foil to taped in a blister package and bumped versions (which are required for direct bonding technology). The ATA5575 is a passive RFID device and no additional external power supply is necessary, while data is transmitted back to the reader by modulating the amplitude of the RF field giving the ASK and FSK options.

The on-chip 128-bit user memory EEPROM (16 blocks, 8 bits per block) can be read and written from the interrogator station, while an additional 8-bit register is used for the chip configuration and memory locking if desired. The on-chip 330pF LC-tank capacitor is trimmed to +/- 3 percent which is unique in the market, with no other external component required than the antenna coil. Coding schemes implemented are Manchester and Bi-Phase.


“We are excited to work with Atmel because of the impressive performance of their solutions,” explained Markus Spreng, Head of SMARTRAC’s Product Line Animal ID. “Our cooperation with Atmel is focused on their combined FDX-A and FDX-B capabilities, excellent read range and state-of-the-art local application support across all sales regions. With Atmel’s RFID chips and our fully automated glass tag manufacturing capabilities, customers can fully rely on RFID solutions with superior quality and performance to ensure one’s pet, for instance, will be easily identifiable.”

SMARTRAC’s LF transponders and inlays operate between 125 KHz and 134.2 KHz, offering high resistance against external interference and delivering excellent performance, even in the most rugged environments.

“Atmel’s collaboration with SMARTRAC will give consumers the confidence that their RFID solutions are high performing, meet industry ISO standards and can support the various modes required for animal identification but also for many other different applications,” said Roland Schropp, Atmel RFID Senior Marketing Manager. “We look forward to supporting SMARTRAC with integrated semiconductor technology solutions for a range of applications and environments.”

Interested in learning more? You can explore the latest animal ID solutions from SMARTRAC, as well as delve deeper into the wide-range of Atmel RFID offerings here.

What’s on tap? Ad agency gives free beer for time cards

Let’s face it, no one enjoys filling out timesheets — yet they are imperative in order to get paid. That’s why Minneapolis ad agency Colle + McVoy has devised a new way to not only get employees to fill out their time cards, but to reward them with some draft beer.


Dubbed TapServer, the multi-keg beer deployment system combines RFID tags and some custom-written software to seamlessly sync with the agency’s time-keeping application. On the hardware side, the program is comprised of several Arduino Uno boards (ATmega328), a Node-based server, solenoids and a Raspberry Pi.

Arduino Draft

How does it work? It’s rather simple. Employees are given RFID-enabled key cards, which they scan at the TapServer. This instantly verifies whether their timesheets are up-to-date. If their records are indeed complete, employees use the connected iPad to select their beer, then pull their pint.

As an added feature, TapServer can also keep track of ounces consumed per employee and beer brand.

Full sheet = Full glass. We’ll cheers to that!

Ping-pong gets high-tech with AT42QT1010

Every hip, trendy new office seems to have a ping-pong table sequestered in the corner of a break room. Even if that that has become common practice in the contemporary office, this concept from across the pond at SI Digital has changed the way the game is played!


With SI Digital’s over-the-top office ping-pong table, each player has an RFID tag embedded into their personal paddle. When they approach the table, they simply wave their handle over a sensor and their image appears on a nearby LCD screen and a game is ready to commence.


Also, instead of tirelessly arguing over the manually tracked score, the team installed two capacitive touch sensors below the table that allow a quick click to add a point under each player’s image. These capacitive touch sensors, built by Adafruit and powered by the Atmel AT42QT1010 were chosen for their ability to trigger precisely after very slight and effortless touches.


Alongside the table, the innovative team placed an Arduino Pro Mini (ATmega168)-powered RFID reader covered with several LEDs to give visual feedback upon being scanned. The RFID tags provide the ability for games to start instantly and for rivalries to be upheld. The team at SI Digital used Node.js and Socket.io to develop an application that gave them the ability to track their live scoring and lifestime statistics. Game on!

For more information on this new spin on the old school Ping-Pong table, take a look at SI Digital’s project review here.