IBM Launches RFID Based ePedigree

IBM announced this week that it is launching an electronic pedigree system called ePedigree. The new system is part of IBM's Websphere RFID Information Center. The system uses radio-frequency identification, or RFID tags, to track medications through the supply chain until they reach consumers.

IBM's ePedigree RFID technology will assist the pharmaceutical industry in their battle to combat drug counterfeiting. The system creates electronic certificates of authenticity for each medication bottle and tracks the products from manufacturers and distributors to the end points of pharmacies and hospitals.

Pfizer currently employs RFID technology to track frequently counterfeited drugs such as Viagra. RFID technology is a vast improvement over earlier security measures such as holograms, which can be easily duplicated.

IBM's ePedigree will also allow companies to comply with new regulations such as California's law requiring that all medication distributed in the state have a complete life history attached. The California regulations are slated to go into effect in 2009.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a division of the Department of Commerce, has issued new guidelines for RFID security.

The NIST report focuses on RFID applications for asset management, tracking, matching, and process and supply chain control. Its list of recommended practices for ensuring the security and privacy of RFID systems includes:
• firewalls that separate RFID databases from an organization’s other databases and information technology (IT) systems;
• encryption of radio signals when feasible;
• authentication of approved users of RFID systems;
• shielding RFID tags or tag reading areas with metal screens or films to prevent unauthorized access;
• audit procedures, logging and time stamping to help in detecting security breaches; and
• tag disposal and recycling procedures that permanently disable or destroy sensitive data.

VeriChip Corporation , a provider of RFID systems for healthcare and patient-related needs, announced today it added 18 diabetic patients to its VeriMed Patient Identification System at an Atlanta Diabetes EXPO sponsored by the American Diabetes Association (ADA).

At the Diabetes EXPO, physicians implanted VeriMed RFID microchips in conference attendees who signed up for the voluntary procedure. The VeriMed Patient Identification System, which utilizes an implantable RFID microchip in combination with a handheld RFID scanner and a secure patient database, provides immediate access to important health information for patients who arrive at an emergency department unable to communicate.

Scott R. Silverman, Chairman and CEO of VeriChip, commented, "We believe the VeriMed Patient Identification System is an essential health care solution for at-risk patients, including diabetics, who tend to present with various co-morbidities and medications, and are more frequently admitted to emergency departments. Since the inception of the VeriMed System, we always knew that the diabetic community was in need of a way to communicate their medical information better and more frequently. We will continue to focus on diabetics and to enhance our relationship further with the American Diabetes Association. The Atlanta Diabetes EXPO provides us direct access so we can continue to educate an important target audience."

Intel Corp. Tuesday unveiled a low-cost, compressed chip that the company says can cut the costs of buying and using radio frequency identification (RFID) readers.

The chip maker said the new Intel R1000 transceiver consolidates about 90 percent of the components in a typical RFID reader onto a single small chip.

The R1000 is 8mm by 8mm in size and can be implemented for a wide variety of applications, said Kerry Krause, Intel's director of marketing for RFID. He noted that the chip can be implanted on loading-dock doors, handheld devices, conveyer belts, forklifts and printers.

"It's quite versatile," said Krause. "It's highly integrated and flexible."

He said customers are designing it into a full range of RFID readers -- from handheld devices that require close proximity to the tags as well as in high-performance devices that can do reads over longer distances.

Krause noted that most RFID readers are large and complex, and require hundreds of separate components to send and receive radio signals to and from RFID tags.

To date, he said, the cost, complexity and manageability of the RFID readers have been obstacles to widespread adoption of the technology. Krause suggested that the small chip is easier to manage and costs less to run because it requires less energy than most of today's devices. The small size could also drive mass production, which would further cut costs, he said.

– Sun Microsystems is hosting a suite of RFID4U training courses in its one of its kind state of art RFID testing lab to help businesses unveil opportunities from this disruptive technology and take the next steps to harness the benefits of RFID technology. The courses available are Asset Tracking using RFID on April 17, 2007, RFID in Pharma on April 18, 2007 and CompTIA RFID+ boot camp on April 19-20, 2007.

These application oriented trainings and certification allow individuals to gain new skills quickly, enabling them to apply that knowledge in the workplace much more rapidly than before.
Training format offers lab-intensive, scenario-based sessions for experienced professionals in a learning environment built around scenarios and troubleshooting in hands-on labs and analysis of best practices.

Brian McGrane the RFID Business Development Manager for Sun’s APT/RFID Lab states that "We have seen increased market demand for environmental RFID tag testing and item level RFID testing. We are therefore offering specific vertical application workshops such as asset tracking and Pharma application workshops to meet this demand."

Sun's APT Lab for RFID and Sensors is the world's first to combine "industrial-strength" environmental stress testing with comprehensive interoperability and standards-compliance testing. Companies from around the world had used the earlier Dallas based Sun RFID Test Center to simulate thousands of RFID and sensor deployments to verify that multi-vendor solutions are interoperable and meet industry technical standards and mandates. Last year Sun had reorganized the RFID Test Center into its Colorado-based Sun APT lab to add the ability to test RFID and sensor solutions under adverse environmental conditions such as excessive heat and cold, shock, humidity, vibration, altitude and pressure.
Technology group Hitachi has developed a radio frequency identification (RFID) chip which is 64 times smaller than those currently on the market.

According to Pink Tentacle, the RFID powder-type chips are five microns thick and could be embedded in currency notes, paper identification documents and a host of other goods.

The technology was made possible through semiconductor miniaturisation applications where beams of electrons were utilised in order to write data on the tiny chips, which can store a serial number in order to act as identification.

Reports suggest that the miniature data storage products can hold an identification number of up to 38 digits and are most likely to be used as an anti-forgery device when they emerge onto the market within the next two to three years.

Hitachi already manufactures and sells the miniature Mu-chip, which the company claims is the smallest RFID circuit in the world and has the capability to trace and monitor goods as well as enhance security of goods in transit.

RFID systems, which typically comprise a tag with a microchip and antenna plus a reader emitting electromagnetic waves, require an integrated chip in order to modulate radio waves and enable them to be turned into digital data.
Radio frequency identification chips that keep track of pets and library books are being used in a whole new way.

A growing number of hospitals are using baby trackers called “baby Lo-Jack.”

From the very first few seconds of life, a newborn is the focus of attention.

During the following days, a parade of doctors, nurses and well-wishers will touch and hold a newborn. The last thing anyone wants is someone taking away this precious gift.

"I don't even want to imagine it. It's terrifying,” said one nurse.

Another nurse said, "We are always checking, checking, checking on the babies.”

Infant abduction is not a crime that happens very often, but it is something every parent and hospital should be prepared for.

One hospital administrator said, "There have been some abductions and that's why we have what we call baby Lo-Jack.”

Baby Lo-Jack is actually known as the HUGS Security System, which uses radio frequency microchips to keep track of newborns and children during their stay in the hospital.

At John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital in Indio, some hospital staff members said they see the system as a deterrent and want to get the word out.

"As soon as the baby is bathed we put (the device) on," said nurse Stacey Seit.

The HUGS tag placed on an infant’s ankle or wrist contains a microchip and an antenna.

"If anybody tries to get past this door here, in this hallway, the alarm goes off. The baby can't get past it," said Seit.