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Archive for Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Another radio-frequency ID tag going to market

June 17, 2008

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Technology behind another radio-frequency identification tag developed at Kansas University is headed to market.

KU's Agility tag, developed through the university's Information and Telecommunication Technology Center, is being licensed for manufacturing through Starport Technologies LLC, based in Kansas City, Mo.

The agreement, announced Monday, is the second that the center has with Starport. A little over two years ago, the center secured a deal for Starport to use so-called "KU-Tag" technology. The KU-Tag technology allows for manufacture of RFID tags designed to function at high levels when used to keep track of metal containers or items that contain liquid, minimizing problems encountered through the use of other RFID tags.

While KU-Tag units are more expensive and more durable, the Agility-enabled tags are designed to be functional in less-demanding conditions.

RFID systems increasingly are used to track inventory by identifying tagged items through radio communication between electronic readers and tags that contain data on microchips.

Starport is using the Agility technology in its new Orion tag, expected to be ready for market by August. The Orion tags "easily" outperform traditional foam tags, recording read ranges of up to 25 feet on metal, said Jeff Nedblake, Starport's principal and managing partner.

The market for such tags is growing, according to research conducted by IDTechEx Ltd., a consulting firm.

Worldwide spending on such systems is expected to reach $5.3 billion this year, up from projections of $4.96 billion a year ago, the firm said. The market is projected to reach $27 billion in 10 years.

KU officials say they hope to continue working with Starport to advance such technologies.

"Our relationship is a good example of how ITTC works with area industry to improve their product offerings by transferring innovative technology out of the laboratory," said Keith Braman, the center's director of commercialization.

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