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Content archived on 2024-05-07

Multiple Simultaneous Code


Today, a massive and rapidly expanding effort to create high performance identification systems (ID-systems) is underway, mainly in the USA and Japan. The new systems are aiming at going far beyond existing anti-theft or similar systems where no or very few identity codes can be achieved. The new ID-systems are expected to replace and exceed bar codes and permit non-optical, simultaneous reading. The cost of the tag is the most important factor for market acceptance and large scale use of ID-systems. The MUSIC project is expected to develop an IDsystem providing a very large code span (9x1015) and simultaneous, remote magnetic reading using a very low cast tag. In contrast to the major competing developments, the intelligence in the MUSIC project is allocated to the tag reading system and not to the tag. Therefore the MUSIC tag is significantly cheaper (0.04 ECU) than a chip tag (today 1 ECU, price horizon 0.5 ECU). This system is called the MUSIC system.
In an effort to minimise waste there is a high demand for new methods that can increase recycling. One of the main hindrances to extending recycling is the cost of identifying and analysing compound materials. Without an ID-system, sorting is done manually at very high costs. The suggested MUSIC system could considerably increase the degree of recycled materials, e.g. in electronics by an estimated 20-30 %, in cars from 75% to 85%, and in relation to furniture recycling, which is today very limited, it is expected that 90% could be recycled. However, in the MUSIC project, only tests for furniture will be carried out.
There is a large driving force from the retail market for a system allowing the simultaneous registration of many item with a limited amount of special or extra handling of the items e.g. at delivery control, inventory control, sales control, and at registration of purchases. In all these processes the items should be registered automatically as they pass through an identification gate. For example, today's cash register procedure entails significant losses, not only due to theft but also from operator fatigue and other missed registrations. The lost revenue in this area is on the order of 10-100 million ECU yearly for each of the big retail chains and for the whole European distribution industry this corresponds to several billion ECU. The implementation of the MUSIC-system in retail is expected to improve goods flow control, to eliminate queues and waiting problems and to reduce the number of unpaid items leaving the shop by 40%.
The major innovative steps of the MUSIC system are:
* Low cost code tag with very large code range,
* Non-binary coding scheme for magnetic element type tags allowing high number- base representation by each magnetic tag element,
* Simultaneous separation of identical or non-identical tags using the interaction between magnetically controllable tag signal frequencies and magnetic bias fields extending throughout the entire tag reading zone.
The MUSIC tag consists of a small set of magnetic strips (typically 5) in an encapsulation. Each magnetic strip will emit a resonance frequency signal when exposed to an excitation signal. An essential feature of the MUSIC tag is that each such resonance frequency can be controlled by an external magnetic control (bias) field. This magnetic field is provided by the tag reading system and manipulated in a complex fashion during the reading process. The code of the tag is represented by the angular (dial-code) and position relation between a set of magnetic strips in the tag. The number of strips in the set (tag) is constant (a clear advantage for decoding validation) but the strips are selected from a defined group of different resonance frequency bands.

The resonance frequency is determined by the magnetic field component along the axis of the amorphous ribbon. When the angle between the magnetic field vector and the ribbon axis changes the resonance frequency will also change. Over an angular interval of 90 this change can typically be a factor of 2, e.g. the resonance frequency changes from 50 to 25 kHz. Thus a high angular resolution can be achieved. This provides the basis of new non-binary coding principle. The code digit is now represented by the angle of the ribbon. The new tag consists of a fixed set of ribbons and the dial-code is contained in the relative angles between the ribbons. The angular positions are selected from a defined set of angles. A major advantage with the relative coding method compared to binary coding is that the number of amorphous ribbons in the tag is always constant (for a specific code span) because the code information is in the signal relation, i.e. the frequency relation or angle between the different amorphous code elements, and not in the existence or non-existence of a specific amorphous element which is the case when a binary coded tag is used. The reading system can therefore check that all code elements have been recorded and can also determine if a tag lacks any of its elements. This greatly improves the validation process during the reading process.

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Ikano B.V.
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Kabelweg 37 Coengebouw 1st floor
1014 BA Amsterdam

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