Inkode targets government market with penny RFID tags

Inkode Corp. of Vienna, Va., has introduced a chipless radio frequency identification tag that will cost less than 1 cent to produce.

Company officials hope to find industry partners to go after vertical government markets now targeted by passive RFID chip makers, which are struggling to get their costs down to 10 cents per chip or less.

Potential markets include agencies that would use this type of RFID tag for document management, counterfeit proofing and asset tracking, said Mort Greene, chief executive officer for Inkode.

The postal service is looking at the technology for better tracking of its mail trays and foreign governments have the technology in use for their passports and visas, Greene said.

Greene said the company, founded in 1991, has seven employees. It does no product manufacturing but instead licenses the technology out to vendors. The company said that more than 50 million RFID tags shipped worldwide have been licensed from Inkode, from vendors such as paper and adhesive provider Lintec Corp., Tokyo.

According to the company, its technology is cheaper than other RFID solutions because it does not involve a microchip.

Instead, antennas as small as 250 angstroms can be embedded directly in the material being tracked, such as glass, rubber, paper, rubber and clothing. Each antenna returns a unique signal, or resonant signature, when a reader sends out a wireless query from as far away as 40 feet. Multiple antennas embedded in one product can produce a unique identifier for that item.

For instance, a copier can be fitted with a module to determine whether or not documents can be copied, Greene said. Inkode also sees other devices such as shredders or even doorways also being fitted with modules to keep track of sensitive information.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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