Kovio, Inc., a privately held Silicon Valley company, today announced the development of the world's first silicon ink-based RFID tag and the company's printed silicon RFID platform for item-level intelligence. This revolutionary platform enables the development of affordable item-level RFID intelligence solutions for various markets, including retail, pharmaceuticals, transit, logistics and asset management.
This announcement was made during a keynote presentation today by Kovio CEO Amir Mashkoori at EPC Connection 2008. "Printed electronics is no longer a vision -- it is here," said Mashkoori. "The platform will enable new opportunities for advertisers, retailers, consumer packaged good manufacturers, and system integrators to provide instantaneous and contextual experiences to everyone who interacts, uses and purchases everyday consumer goods."
The first products based on this patented platform technology are printed silicon HF integrated circuits (PICs) with 128 bits of printed read-only memory. The Kovio HF (13.56MHz) PIC will be the foundation for Kovio's low-cost HF RFID tag family. The innovative features of Kovio's HF PICs include a synchronous tags-talk-first mode of operation, a 106kbps data rate, an integrated capacitor, and printed read-only memory. In addition, Kovio's PICs dramatically reduce the overall cost of tag manufacturing through features such as large PIC bond pads and the use of ultra-thin metal foil substrates. Large bond pads improve attach reliability, simplify attach requirements and lower antenna costs. The use of thin metal foil starting substrates precludes the need for wasteful thickness reduction used by traditional IC manufacturers for conventional silicon ICs.
Kovio's technology platform is based on the combination of high-performance silicon inks and graphics printing technology. This enables the fabrication of silicon devices over large areas, on flexible substrates and at a fraction of the cost of conventional silicon technology. Kovio's additive printed silicon technology is significantly more clean and resource-efficient than conventional silicon technology. The printed silicon platform will facilitate additional item-level intelligence beyond identification by integrating printed sensors and displays.
"While there has been a lot of talk about RFID over the past decade, affordability is the No. 1 requirement for RFID to displace the barcode for item-level intelligence," said Rob Chandra of Bessemer Venture Partners, an early investor in Kovio. "With Kovio's printed silicon platform, we are now ready to truly extend RFID to where it has the largest impact -- the consumer."
"Item-level tagging is going to be the biggest market for RFID, and Kovio's game-changing technology is bringing RFID to the price point required for item-level adoption much sooner than anyone could have expected," said Raghu Das, CEO, IDTechEx. "Now, less than a year since the company announced
an all-printed thin-film transistor, Kovio is taking the technology out of the lab and into the commercial environment at a very brisk pace."
Kovio is working with leading system integrators, solution providers and converters to ensure the availability and reliability of Kovio's HF PIC-based products. Kovio will begin customer sampling of its new products in Q4 2008 and will start production shipments shortly thereafter. Initial applications include item-level brand promotions and advertising, authentication, asset management and ticketing.