NXP unveils UCODE I2C RFID chip

Apr 06, 2011

NXP Semiconductors today unveiled its groundbreaking UCODE I2C chip, which features an integrated I2C interface and a large 3,328-bit user memory. The UCODE I2C IC brings the power of Gen2 UHF to embedded systems, enabling bidirectional communication between a wireless reader and a microprocessor via an I2C bus. Using UCODE I2C, electronic devices can be configured and customized remotely, enabling wireless data exchange and product provisioning even while the device is powered down. NXP will showcase UCODE I2C at RFID Journal LIVE! next week in Orlando, Florida.

“The UCODE I2C chip brings together our unparalleled expertise in both RFID and I2C. NXP invented the I2C bus over 30 years ago and is now the world’s No. 1 supplier of I2C solutions, as well as the No. 1 supplier of RFID solutions,” said Chris Feige, general manager, tagging and authentication product line, . “With UCODE I2C, we’re making it possible for manufacturers and retailers to offer a seamless customer experience when it comes to configuring, updating and servicing electronic devices – wirelessly and remotely – even when the device is powered down. The pervasiveness of the I2C bus across so many different types of peripherals also means that the UCODE I2C IC has the potential to enable and transform a whole new world of multi-applications.”

Manufacturers, distributors and retailers of consumer electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, music players and game systems can take advantage of UCODE I2C functionality in a number of different ways. As an anti-theft measure, a pallet of moving through supply chain can remain disabled until they have been provisioned remotely through the I2C bus, and each device can be tracked through a unique tag ID (TID). When a consumer purchases an electronic device, the UCODE I2C chip enables the retailer to pre-configure and customize it without opening the box, pre-loading customer account information and eliminating the headache that customers typically face when setting up a new device. In addition, UCODE I2C makes it straightforward for manufacturers or retailers to remotely deliver minor upgrades or enable optional features purchased by the customer. In the event of any problems, UCODE I2C makes it possible to quickly identify the serial number as well as the error logs internal to the device without opening it, resulting in a significant reduction in the time it takes to resolve issues and repair the device as needed.

The UCODE I2C IC features a high capacity – 3,328 bits of EEPROM memory – which can be used to upload updates to the embedded upon power up. The high-performance passive UHF interface includes two independent front-ends, each of which can be enabled or disabled independently, as well as an RF or I2C interface which can also be disabled independently.

Other target applications include RFID data loggers and sensors for products such as perishable foods and pharmaceuticals. By passing sensor information through the I2C bus, the UCODE I2C IC can track, monitor and record information such as temperature, humidity, pressure and shock as the products move through the supply chain. UCODE I2C could be used in other wireless sensor applications such as “smart shelves,” by making it easy to monitor and manage electronic shelf displays by updating pricing and discounts dynamically through the I2C interface.

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