Powercast brings long range wireless power to RFID alliance

Powercast brings long range wireless power to RFID alliance

Business news |
By Jean-Pierre Joosting

Wireless power chip designer Powercast has joined the RAIN RFID Alliance to power RFID systems at long distance. The RAIN alliance has 160 members promoting the universal adoption of ultra-high frequency (UHF) RFID technology, aiming to emulate the success of the Wi-Fi Alliance and Bluetooth SIG in driving adoption.

Powerharvester RF-to-DC converter chips from Powercast harvest RF from 10 MHz to 6 GHz and allow RAIN RFID systems to use power from the RFID readers at a distance as much as 24m. The Powerharvester PCC110 and PCC114 chips can harvest RF from existing UHF RFID readers with conversion efficiency up to 80 percent to power applications over the air. RFID readers emit a similar RF signal to Powercast’s PowerSpot and Powercaster RF wireless power transmitters, enabling RAIN RFID systems to be source of RF wireless power.

A receiver chip embedded in an electronic paper display (EPD) tag such as a retail electronic shelf-edge label (ESL), an environmental sensing or logistics tag, or a secure ID card can harvest RF when it comes within range of a UHF RFID reader. That range is application dependent – most can function up to 9m from a reader, while some can work up to 24m away. RFID tag or label devices can be designed with batteries that Powercast either recharges or manages, or without batteries because the embedded Powerharvester chip can harvest enough power from UHF RFID readers to operate perpetually.

Several applications developed with partner E Ink and deployed over the last two years enable companies to use RFID infrastructure to wirelessly update E Ink’s ePaper screen over the air, as well as UHF sensors. These include ViewTag’s electronic bag tag and the Retail Price Tag, a batteryless display which harvests RF from retail RFID readers to send over-the-air price updates to its ePaper screen.

“RAIN provides an industry forum to promote the benefits of RFID technology and is driving awareness to accelerate growth and adoption across many industries,” said Charles Greene, Ph.D., chief operating and technical officer of Powercast.

“Powercast brings deep experience in defining and executing wireless power solutions to benefit our members, and will contribute to our mission of promoting RFID technology,” said Steve Halliday, president of the RAIN RFID Alliance.

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