Radio-frequency-identification (RFID) tags have become ubiquitous in consumer, medical, industrial, and even military applications. In support of the technology, SkyeTek, Inc. (Boulder, CO) recently developed the world's smallest RFID reader, the SkyeRead M1-mini module. About the size of a United States quarter, the tiny RFID reader measures just 1 inch in diameter by 0.1 inch thick, yet provides all the advanced features and performance of the company's much larger, original SkyeRead M1 reader. The SkyeRead M1-mini module reads and writes industry-standard 13.56-MHz RFID tags and smart labels including ISO15693, ISO14443, ISO18000, and EPC tags and labels from a wide range of suppliers, including Infineon, Inside Contactless, Philips, STMicroelectronics, TagSys, and Texas Instruments. Using its own internal antenna, the SkyeRead M1-mini module has a read distance of 6 cm, which can be extended to 13 cm with an external antenna.

The company's founder, Sean Loving, who is scheduled to make a presentation on current and future applications for RFID technology at the upcoming Wireless Systems Design Conference & Expo (San Diego Convention Center, March 8-10, 2004), notes that it is not just the small size that makes the SkyeRead M1-mini module so attractive, but its connectivity to existing standards: "The SkyeRead M1-mini module was designed for connection to Crossbow's Mica2Dot. Now there's a bridge between RFID and Smart Dust technology." Loving adds that "not only does this new mini-reader fit anywhere, but we've provided a wireless host-interface option to enable next-generation RFID applications like wearable computing, wireless sensing, and wireless 'smart' appliances and peripherals."

SkyeTek was formed in 2000 to provide innovative RFID solutions and applications The company focuses on RFID electronic design, software development, systems integration, and consulting services for RFID applications. Earlier this year, the company announced a technology agreement with Socket Communications, a leading provider of Windows-based mobile communications products for pocket personal computers (PCs), mobile telephones, and Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs). The company's embedded systems group offers a variety of integrated-circuit (IC) solutions, including its KwikBlue modules with embedded Bluetooth wireless technology at 2.4 GHz.

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