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Zero-Power MEMS Sensor Actuated RFID System
Keywords: MEMS, Sensor, RFID
In the medical industry, item level tracking and monitoring is utterly important, particularly in the distribution of blood, tissues, transplant organs, and biological reagents. It is critical to monitor environmental variables such as temperature, shock, and humidity. For example, whole blood and blood components need to be stored at the optimal temperature of 4°C, with increased haemolysis below 0°C and above 10°C. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags, once equipped with sensors and data logging system, would allow for monitoring individual blood bags through the entire cold chain and distribution network. However, current active semiconductor sensor systems cannot be sustained over the life cycle of blood bags. An extremely low-power system design is called for this application. Here we present an RFID system with embedded passive MEMS sensor switches to provide long-term, item-level monitoring and data logging. The patented temperature monitoring prototype for blood bags utilizes MEMS cantilever array both as passive multi-temperature sensors and as power trigger for data logging circuitry, all packaged in a flexible laminated PCB (2.5 x 2.5 x 0.2 cm). This system uses zero power to monitor temperature and uA current to record temperature data beyond threshold. The on-board data logger consists of a dual-communication, HIPAA compliant, 13.56 MHz RFID chip and customized antenna, an ultra-low power micro-controller, and supporting passives. Prototypes are estimated to have more than 200 days of continued temperature monitoring per use with a thin film battery.
Yang Zhang,
University of California - Irvine; Integrated Nanosystems Research Facility
Irvine, CA

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