Tiny chip could slash the cost of making RFID tags

A tiny RFID (radio frequency identification) chip could substantially reduce the complexity and costs of manufacturing tags for asset tracking, retail and supply chain management applications, developer Murata Electronics has claimed.

Called Magicstrap, the new UHF RFID chip is just 1.6 x 1.2 x 0.25mm. It requires a metal-foil antenna pattern within a paper tag, but connects to it via inductive coupling. That means there are no connection pads to line up accurately - the chip could even by placed by hand and attached using sticky tape.

Murata claimed that, compared to existing solutions which require micron-accurate placement onto conductive adhesive or solder by million-dollar machines, Magicstrap therefore enables zero-defect manufacturing of these tags in a quick, easy and flexible way.

With manufacturers having to track products and manage their lifecycle more efficiently, the new chip could accelerate the replacement of barcodes by RFID tags.

Magicstrap is readable over over the 860-960MHz band, with a read distance of up to 5m. This means the same tag design could be used in Europe, the US and Japan, saving inventory for manufacturers.

Murata added that Magicstrap complies with EPC Global Gen 2, and said that it has a standard reference design which manufacturers can use for the antenna foil.

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