Transponder systems – especially sensor transponder systems – and sensor networks offer an excellent technological basis for the detection of identification and sensor data, especially in moving, rotating or otherwise difficult to access objects. Therefore this technology contributes an important part for the realization of the “Internet of Things”/IoT. Through the wireless communication and energy supply new applications and application areas open up, for example in medicine to receive measurement data from implanted sensors for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. Other interesting application fields can be found in the areas of construction and logistics.
Fraunhofer IMS has built up a broad know-how basis in the area of the wireless near field communication in many years and various research and development projects and is keeping them current using further development of these technologies in F+E projects. The competence area of Fraunhofer IMS includes both active and passive (sensor) transponder solutions in all common frequency ranges, wireless sensor networks and embedded systems. In combination with the also available system integration and networking competencies, IMS offers all technology components including for the realization of “Cyber-Physical Systems” (CPS).
Networking of all components in the industrial production is the requirement for the realization of industry 4.0 concepts. A number of mobile objects or inaccessible areas make the wireless networking necessary. The use of wireless technologies for the communication between components leads to an increase in mobility and flexibility in the production and other application fields. Regarding the application of wireless systems there is a significant challenge for the acceptance of wireless technologies on the part of industrial users. Apart from technical aspects, like a high reliability, an easy installation and handling (Plug-and-Play) are important and are considered obvious benefits of the wireless networking.
By now, the RFID technology has been established in many areas. To ensure that the RFID technology remains a solution for many applications, there must be responses to the always arising challenges and adapted or completely developed solutions have to be presented. Especially in the areas of industry and medical technology there are high requirements for the system and problems are addressed that conventional RFID systems can’t overcome. Therefore conventionally available RFID technologies have to be abandoned and new technologies have to be developed or available ones need to be further developed. In the same way this happens with UHF and SHF-RFID technologies, in which Fraunhofer IMS has significantly contributed in the business unit Wireless and Transponder Systems.
RFID on Metal
Fraunhofer IMS develops new RFID technologies in this area which are suited for the application on or in metal (RFID in/on metal). For this, the SHF (Super High Frequency) range is used to increase the performance of the RFID tags on or in metal. The application of the SHF range has many benefits in comparison to conventional and familiar RFID solutions regarding the size of the RFID tags and especially the possible application in metallic environments. Currently, there is no RFID standard available in the SHF range on the market. Fraunhofer IMS works actively on communication protocols for this area to develop a standard technology in the future.
The amount of connected intelligent devices in the context of the Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly – until 2025 there will be approximately one thousand billion IoT devices. With these developments also comes an increase in energy demand – all these devices have to be supplied with electricity. In the EU project EnABLES we search for possibilities to reduce the power consumption of IoT devices in the spirit of sustainability. With the application of energy harvesting solutions the necessity of a battery change should be avoided.