Flexible battery stimulates the market for active RFID tags

The Japanese company NEC has developed a lightweight, flexible battery (see photo), which is less than a millimeter thick and can be charged in half a minute.
The novelty is called "Organic Based Battery" (Organic Radical Battery, ORB) and contains a certain type of plastic that exists in the form of a gel. This gel allows the battery to be extremely flexible, with a thickness of only 300 microns.

An ORB can be embedded in devices such as smart cards, laptop computers, and smart paper. In addition, the absence of harmful chemical compounds in the battery makes it environmentally friendly.


The ORB has great potential in combination with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags, tiny microchips that carry certain information and which are attached to a small antenna. Now RFID tags are beginning to be widely used to track products in the chain from the manufacturer to the outlet.
RFID tags are divided into two categories. Much more common "passive" tags respond only to signals sent by the readable device, and have a small radius of action. At the same time, “active” tags can transmit signals at considerable distances, but they are larger, more expensive, and should have an energy source. “If you can create“ smart active tags ”- those that will send the signal themselves, and not just passively reflect the energy of the reader - you can solve many recognition problems that people are working on now,” comments Mark Roberti , editor of the RFID Journal.
However, given the possibility of active reading tags from a long distance, questions arise as to their health effects and the appropriate choice of operating frequency. “In the case of passive tags, transmission is episodic, that is, it is carried out only when a signal comes from the receiver. - says Roger Lewis (Roger Lewis), editor of RFID Today. - If the public is wary of passive tags, then the attitude towards active ones that work almost constantly can be sharply negative. Although such thoughts are erroneous, they can nevertheless simply undermine any use of this product. ”
The most appropriate ways to use active tags is to attach them to movable property: transport containers, taxis, etc., that is, where they will be read frequently. Roberti develops this thought: “With a battery, a credit card-sized label can be read from a distance of 300 feet, whereas without a battery, it is only from 15. Thus, you can use similar low-cost battery-powered tags to track tools in the factory or any other items that need to be recorded from a distance of more than 15 feet. ”
The NEC company does not yet talk about the price of development, however, it declares the continuation of work on stability and a longer battery life in order to find commercial use for them in the future.