The project, named ‘Printed RFID Sensor Solutions,’ is to develop tiny communicating RFID sensors. Unlike bar codes, RFID uses radio, which makes it possible to identify many items at the same time, in a store room, for example. RFID constitutes the base of a worldwide identification system called Electronic Product Code Network (EPC Network). Fully deployed, the system will be like a search engine such as Google, but not designed to find home pages but rather products and objects marked with RFID.
Even today products can tell us their identity all by themselves. But with the aid of new technology like the printed sensors to be developed in the project, packagings can provide much more information. Examples of such information are how the item was handled during transport, whether the packaging has been opened, and when and whether the good has been exposed to damaging temperatures or moisture.
“Our new sensor project will be a major contribution to the development of cheap and robust technology that can follow, track, and monitor individual products, from production to sale and finally to recycling,” says Professor Hans-Erik Nilsson, who is coordinating the project at the Section for Electronics at Mid Sweden University.
Printed electronics is based on ink and print dyes with electronic properties.
“New advances in nanotechnology are providing new possibilities for the rapid development of more efficient printing dyes,” says Hans-Erik Nilsson.
At Mid Sweden University this research got underway within the framework of the research program for the forestry industry at FSCN, Fiber Science and Communication Network, as early as 1999. Over the years the project has been developed in collaboration with both national and international companies.
The current project is being run in collaboration with the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden, and VTT Technical Research Center in Finland.