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.