3/13/2006 - Helping to keep track of a myriad of personal items, Remote Play, Inc. has launched the TagAlertTM wireless portable asset security product line with the help of ultra-low-power MSP430 microcontrollers (MCU) from Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) (NYSE:TXN). TagAlert employs active RF wireless technology over short distances up to 75 feet to help keep track of everyday items like cell phones, laptops, luggage, portable game players and MP3 players. MSP430 devices, the world’s lowest power MCU platform, supply ultra-low power control processing that helps keep Remote Play products small and lightweight while allowing the tiny tags to operate for up to six months and the monitors up to two years without a change of batteries.
"Reliance on portable technology for communication, information and entertainment is becoming dominant for all ages and professions" said Ari Naim, president and CEO, Remote Play. "This proliferation of handheld electronic gadgets has intensified the age-old tendency for people to leave behind valuable items, which can be disruptive or even dangerous."
A 2005 MSNBC survey, for instance, estimated that 200,000 cell phones and tens of thousands of computers were left in taxis worldwide over a six-month period. The odds of having such items returned is not high, as ABC’s Primetime magazine discovered in a 2005 "losing spree" experiment, from which ABC staffers recovered less than half the items they had deliberately abandoned in public places.
Keep Tracking of Your Belongings
The miniature TagAlert monitor fits easily on a key ring, and even smaller tags can be readily attached to handheld electronic devices or other valuables. Remote Play’s patented ranging technology determines when a tagged item moves beyond a predetermined distance from the monitor, and the user is alerted. A switch on the monitor adjusts the alert range from short (up to 20 feet) or long (up to 75 feet) distance, and a snooze button allows the user to move briefly out of the alert range of the tag without the alarm sounding. Because each tag has a unique ID, multiple tags can be used within the same area and a single monitor can be programmed to recognize more than one tag.
RF-Enabled Asset Security Gets an Integrated, Low Power MCU Solution
"Due to rock-bottom power consumption and a wide range of integrated peripherals, TI’s MSP430 MCUs are superior to all other commercially available processors for our active RF range estimation products," said Israel Amir, Chief Technology Officer, Remote Play, Inc. "TI’s scalable MSP430 product offerings, exceptional development support and expertise throughout the system – both digital and analog – ensure that we will continue to rely heavily on TI as we further develop our active RF technology."
Remote Play integrated a number of ultra-low power MSP430 MCUs into their designs, including the latest MSP430F20xx devices, to provide the low-power processing needed for communication, identification and system control in both tags and monitors. MSP430F20xx MCUs offer a flexible clock system that allows fast operation of up to 16 MIPS with no external components using a digitally controlled oscillator (DCO). The DCO is fully programmable up to 16 MHz and stable over temperature and voltage with the ability to switch from standby to a fully operation in less than one micro-second. Ultra-low power standby combined with 16 MIPS in less than one micro-second allows high-performance systems to stay in standby longer, allowing applications to conserve power and use smaller batteries.
If the embedded real-time clock (RTC) function is required, the MSP430F20xx MCU can also use a common 32 kHz crystal and achieve a standby mode of 0.7 microamps. All MSP430 MCUs are based on a high-performance 16-bit RISC core that is optimized for fast instruction execution and can be variably clocked at lower speeds, providing the industry’s lowest power consumption. Integrated peripherals that reduce cost and help keep tag and monitor circuits as small as their coin-sized batteries include analog-to-digital converters (ADCs), timers and comparators.
On-chip flash memory helps simplify development and enables reprogramming – an essential feature with TagAlert’s addressing requirements – while TI’s comprehensive development tools and support simplify design and speed time to market. Other TI devices used in Remote Play products include RF transceivers, analog-to-digital data converters, and power management devices. TI is a leading provider of both analog and digital solutions for handheld RF communications, and it also is recognized for its leadership in RFID technology.
Product Availability and Pricing
TagAlert products are available for prices starting at $39.95 from Remote Play and from consumer outlets including Sharper Image, Amazon.com, J&R Music World and, beginning in early second quarter at Fry’s Electronics. For information on TI’s MSP430 MCUs, go online.
TI Enables Innovation with Broad Range of Controllers
From ultra-low-power MCUs from its MSP430 platform and 32-bit general purpose ARM7-based MCUs from the TMS470 platform to high performance TMS320C2000TM DSP platform of digital signal controllers, TI offers designers the broadest range of embedded control solutions. Designers can also accelerate their design to market by tapping into TI’s complete software and hardware tools, extensive third-party offerings and technical support.
About Remote Play
Remote Play, Inc. (RPI) is the leading provider of wireless products and networks based on radio frequency identification (RFID) tags to help individuals and organizations keep track of people or physical assets. Remote Play’s patented SilverLinkTM technology makes active RFID tags the basis of versatile, full-featured security systems. The systems can track multiple tags with a single base unit, and estimate how far a tagged asset is from the base. Using this powerful and flexible technology platform, RPI is creating product lines to address two growing markets: mobile security for consumers, and network-based tracking of people and assets for commercial organizations.
About Texas Instruments
Texas Instruments Incorporated provides innovative DSP and analog technologies to meet our customers' real world signal processing requirements. In addition to Semiconductor, the company's businesses include Sensors & Controls, and Educational & Productivity Solutions. TI is headquartered in Dallas, Texas, and has manufacturing, design or sales operations in more than 25 countries.
Texas Instruments is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol TXN.
SilverLink and TagAlertTM are trademarks of Remote Play, Inc.
TMS320C2000 is a trademark of Texas Instruments.
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