Med Center Uses RFID to Ease Parking Garage Woes for Staff & Guests

February 22, 2010

The Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, a new hospital on the UCLA campus, is developing an RFID system that it hopes will make parking in its garage easier and more convenient for hospital staffers, patients, and guests.

For now, the RFID solution includes a network of sensors mounted at the parking garage’s entry and two exit points. When cars enter and leave the garage, the system records the information and sends it to a back-end software application. From there, UCLA administrators can analyze the data to determine the number of available parking spots on the monitored floors. Future plans include monitoring not only each floor but also each individual parking space.

In the long run, according to UCLA’s Department of Transportation, the data could enable the hospital to optimize the number of parking spots allotted to staff and guests, as well as provide guests with guidance to exact available parking spots. In addition, there are plans to create a mobile application that will show these visitors where available spots in the garage are before even arriving at the hospital, which could encourage the use of alternate transportation if the garage is full. This could keep the medical center from needing to perform the expensive and inconvenient task of expanding parking on the UCLA campus—a bonus, as there is only room for about 2,000 more spaces.

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Malaysia Launches Country’s First RFID-Enabled Public Library

February 12, 2010

In Penang, Malaysia, more than 800,000 library patrons share about 500,000 copies of reading materials in six public libraries. Now, Penang Public Library has taken steps to better serve its readers by implementing an EPC Global Gen 2 standard-compliant RFID system. It is the first library in Malaysia to upgrade to this system.

The RFID solution leverages a combination of technologies to help Penang Public Library achieve its goal of becoming fully automated. The system uses RFID tags whose readings are taken in a split second; that data is then recorded using an RFID Inventory Management system. With this data, Penang Public Library can take fast, accurate inventory on its vast quantity of library assets.

In addition, library patrons no longer have to wait for librarians to check them in and out using barcode scanners or date stamping. Instead, the solution includes RFID self check-in and check-out stations, which enable library patrons to easily conduct their own transactions, review their account status, and renew books and other materials in real time.

The stations work by having patrons place their items directly on top of the ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID reader, which instantaneously updates the item and user information in the library system. The reader has a range of up to seven meters—significantly greater than that of a high-frequency (HF) reader. As an anti-theft component of the RFID Library System, the reader also automatically detects tagged books that don’t contain a checkout code and triggers an alarm when items without such a code pass through.

Dunlop tags tires for British racing league

February 2, 2010

In what is being dubbed a “world first,” the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) and Dunlop have teamed up to incorporate RFID into racecar tires. Now, all tires on BTCC cars (which are exclusively provided by Dunlop) will be scanned as the cars enter the pit lane, automatically ensuring that tires are correct and up to par—and drivers, safe.

Every Dunlop tire has a mini RFID tag—only one centimeter long—embedded within it. When they are scanned, the RFID tags transmit information to a backend software system, which enables officials to track each tire from production and allocation, through its use, and back to Dunlop for recycling. According to Tony Duffy, operations manager for Dunlop Motorsport Europe, the project has been “quite an undertaking,” as there were several unique challenges that the manufacturer needed to overcome.
For example, it is crucial that the RFID tags remain stable in the tire throughout its rotations, and that no tire is “missed” upon a car’s return from the track. Both are significant feats considering the high rate of speed at which racecar tires revolve, even when the cars slow to match the pit lane speed limit. Despite these challenges, however, Dunlop has been able to provide the BTCC with a 100% accurate log of each tire’s activity.

In the future, Dunlop expects to incorporate similar RFID systems for other race series in which its tires are used (