First batteryless electronic UHF retail price tag

11 April 2018

Powercast Corporation, the pioneer of radio-frequency (RF)-based long-range power-over-distance wireless charging technology, announce the industry’s first Batteryless Electronic UHF (Ultrahigh Frequency) Retail Price Tag.

Powercast’s RF-to-DC power harvesting technology can wirelessly update an electronic paper (ePaper) display, sending data and power over the air up to two metres away, through the use of a standard UHF RFID reader. Powercast’s technology enables quick electronic price changes, operates perpetually without batteries, and works with typical UHF RFID readers (handheld and fixed).

Powercast developed the concept tag to save retailers from having to change paper labels as well as the batteries required by the industry’s battery-powered electronic price tags – both of which are labour-intensive jobs. An RFID reader can update a whole shelf of product prices within a few seconds.

How the device works

Users select the tag(s) to update and the new price in an app on a handheld UHF reader. (Retailers can easily integrate this function into their system.) Point the reader at the price tag, up to two metres away, to securely send pricing data and RF energy over the air to Powercast’s tiny PCC110 Powerharvester wireless power receiver chip embedded in the tag. The chip converts RF to DC – to power the tag without batteries, and updates the display with the new, authenticated price in a few seconds. The tags do not need batteries because they can harvest enough power just from a UHF RFID reader to operate perpetually.

Other enabling technology in the batteryless price tag

Powercast chose an ePaper display from E Ink because it can efficiently maintain the price image on the tag, even when it is outside of/not being directly powered by the UHF field. With both active matrix and segmented displays possible when designing electronic tags, the E Ink segmented display that Powercast selected offers a more economical solution than the active matrix displays, which are typically used in battery-powered electronic tags. Further, it does not require a high-end display driver.

An evaluation kit for the Batteryless Electronic UHF Retail Price Tag is expected in Q4 2018 from distributors Arrow Electronics and Mouser Electronics. The concept tag is available for licence or Powercast will work with partners to design their own batteryless price tags using Powercast’s PCC110 chip.

The Batteryless Electronic UHF Retail Price Tag is a finalist for Orlano’s RFID Journal LIVE! is a finalist for the show’s Best New RFID Product 2018 Award, whose winners will be announced on April 12th. 

For more information, visit this link from Powercast.

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