VICTORIA-based bluechiip says the US Federal Communications Commission has granted it a waiver, allowing its wireless technology to operate in specified restricted frequency bands.
This development removes a potential roadblock in the path of commercialising the wireless tracking technology in the US.
bluechiip was founded in 2003 to develop advanced battery-less (passive) RFID memory and temperature sensing devices. It is based on MEMS resonators, and involves a tiny mechanical chip which contains no electronics.
The chip is embedded at the time of manufacture into a storage product and information from the chip can detected by a reader, which can also read the temperature history of tagged items.
According to bluechiip, its technology improves the tracking of genetic, stem cell and other biological materials stored under extreme temperature conditions.
Its technology will use a unique method to program and store data on the memory device, and can be fabricated simply and inexpensively using low-cost MEMS technology manufacturing techniques.
Bluechiip’s device transmits in the frequency band 1.5MHz to 4.2MHz, which includes narrow frequency windows that are normally restricted and reserved for military or government use. This spectrum is reserved exclusively for the US Government.
The company claims the technology represents a generational change from current methods such as labels (hand-written and pre-printed), barcodes (linear and 2D) and microelectronic integrated circuit (IC)-based RFID (Radio Frequency Identification).
Unlike labels, barcodes and RFID, the bluechiip technology can measure the temperature of each item a chip is attached to, or embedded in. It is operational in temperatures as low as those reached in liquid nitrogen (-196 degrees Celsius) and as high as 200 degrees Celsius. Data can also be transmitted through frost.
Bluechiip’s tracking technology has also been field-proven to survive autoclaving, gamma irradiation sterilisation, humidification, centrifugation, cryogenic storage and frosting.
The bluechiip technology has initial applications in the healthcare industry particularly those businesses which require cryogenic storage facilities (biobanks and biorepositories).