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RFID-radar readers and systems

RFID-radar represents a major technical development in the technology of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID).
RFID-radar now adds location information to the identity information that was provided by previous RFID equipment.


The Problem - How can you measure range using low cost transponders

RFID systems comprise a tag and a reader. As operating range increases, the number of tags in the reader zone is likely to increase and multiple tags need to be read at the same time.

Before the arrival of RFID-radar, readers have been able to read the identity of multiple transponders in a zone at one time, but they have not been able to locate where in the zone the transponders actually are physically.

As the performance of readers and transponders improve, operating ranges increase giving one reader the ability to monitor larger areas meaning location information in addition to the identity information becomes very important.

RFID-radar works with very low cost transponders and relatively cheap reader systems.

Rfid radar kit with Patch antennas
Trolley Scan's new RFID-radar kit with High gain patch antennas

The invention

  • Trolley Scan have developed a reader system capable of fixing the location of many passive transponders in a reading zone
  • The invention can monitor a zone up to 100 meters deep, to an accuracy of less than 0.5 meters.
  • The scan time to range all tags in the zone is a couple of seconds.
  • Once located individual transponders can be tracked.
  • The transponders are low cost Tag-Talks-First type devices, capable of being produced at a few US cents.
  • The reader has only one array of antennas
  • The reader is relatively low cost to produce.
  • The reader is able to map out the location of all the transponders in the field in 1D, 2D or 3D space, processing all the transponders in its reading zone in parallel.
  • The reader uses only 10kHz of bandwidth, operating at UHF frequencies, allowing many readers to operate in close proximity with minimal interference.
  • The reader provides a range measurement to each tag as well as a pointing vector with an accuracy better than 1 degree.
  • Position updates are given at 1 second intervals
  • The system can be implimented in all countries of the world
  • This is a world first base technology, allowing companies involved in its development the ability to deliver very advanced low cost RFID systems for many years.

    Physical location of transponders

    Placement of twelve transponders in front of a radar for a test showing capabilities


    Potential applications

    The following are some potential applications of RFID-Radar technology. To date this technology has been very expensive meaning that only military type applications could afford to use it in the past.
    Warehouse
    Locating parcels and bins of goods in 3D space. Tracking the progress of goods automatically from goods receiving to storage. Radar can be fitted even to a fork lift truck so that it can image and locate objects in the immediate vicinity of the apparatus.
    Military
    Where is my tank? - Where is my platoon? - Where is my patrol hiding in the long grass? - Where did I leave the landmine?
    Monitoring security patrols
    Using the track feature of the RFID-Radar to monitor that guards do perform their patrols correctly. Monitoring can be done via computer monitor program covering large area.
    Asset movement
    Real time tracking of assets in a building/office, tracking both the laptops, computers, etc and the people if needed.
    Schools
    Monitoring the location, attendance and safe passage of pupils in the classroom and on the public transport - from when they leave home in the morning to returning in the evening
    Conferences
    Monitoring the traffic of delegates past the sponsors' booths at conferences
    Cattle
    Tracking individual animals in a herd, and also detecting if any of the herd stray beyond fences (theft)
    Trolleys
    Tracking trolleys in a parking lot at an airport or supermarket to monitor if any trolley is being removed from the premises
    Old Age homes
    Watching residents of an old age home to detect if any stray beyond the boundaries of the property.
    Nursery school
    Watching children in a playground to check that none stray near dangerous equipment or leave the premises
    Shopping centres
    Monitoring for lost or seperated children in a crowded shopping centre - Where is my child?
    Parking lots
    Providing a monitoring service to report where your car is parked in a public garage.
    Museums and galleries
    Monitoring many artworks from a single location to ensure they are not moved
    Hospitals
    Monitoring the movement of patients, staff and equipment in a hospital environment to speed up locating the person/object in an emergency
    Courier
    Reporting the location of parcels for distribution on a warehouse floor.
    Loyalty cards at retail stores and banking outlets
    Notifying management of the arrival of important clients.
    Luggage
    Finding missing luggage at airports. Tracking luggage and passengers through the airport to ensure all arrive at the aircraft on time.
    Monitoring commuters in Underground transit systems
    Tracking the progress of commuters electronically in conjunction with the CCTV systems in use at present
    Barcode replacement
    Trolley Scan have in the past been known for developing advanced retail systems for the checkout of goods from a supermarket - both through the Branders and the Waverider system. Their protocols allowed the same numbering system to be used as was in use with the existing EAN/UCC barcode numbering system. Now Trolley Scan have advanced the technology far beyond the restrictions of the barcode in that we can now report location information as well as all the features in the earlier RFID systems for retail.
    Golf ball
    Where are the golfers?.
    Technology advancement
    Will one still be able to find a market for an RFID reader system in the future that does not also give location?. Can you still market an XT computer after the arrival of the Pentium?

    Plotted


    Twelve transponders are plotted. The yellow zone is the field of view of the radar.

    More information

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