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RFID chip boasts I2C interface, large memory

Posted: 08 Apr 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:RFID chip? embedded? UCODE I<sup>2</sup>C?

NXP Semiconductors N.V. unveiled the UCODE I2C chip, which features an integrated I2C interface and 3,328bit 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.

Manufacturers, distributors and retailers of consumer electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, music players and game systems can use the UCODE I2C in several ways. As an anti-theft measure, a pallet of electronic devices moving through a 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. 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 memory capacity3,328 bits of EEPROM memorythat can be used to upload updates to the embedded microprocessor 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.

Key features of the NXP UCODE I2C IC include a dual UHF front-end architecture, enabling antennas to support different read-range requirements. It has up to 160bit EPC and 96bit TID, including 48bit serial number. The chip complies with EPC global 1.2.0 standard and can use SDA pin of the I2C port as a digital switch. It has switchable RF ports and I2C interface, depending on privacy needs as well as RF to I2C bridge mode for optimized data exchange (handshake). The NXP UCODE I2C IC is in SOT1193 package (1.6x1.6mm, 0.5mm thickness).

The UCODE I2C IC is currently sampling, with volume production scheduled later this year.

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