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Radio nodes may succeed RFID tags

ERLANGEN, Germany, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- German researchers say they've developed intelligent radio nodes that can perform many tasks that radio frequency identification systems cannot.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits, the Fraunhofer Working Group and colleagues at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg and other facilities developed the radio nodes mainly for hospital uses.

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For example, the scientists said, using the wrong blood by mistake during a blood transfusion could have fatal consequences. But radio nodes attached to the blood bags and to a patient wristband can exchange information. If the donor blood does not match that of the patient, a warning signal sounds and a red light illuminates.

"In contrast to tags that use RFID -- radio frequency identification -- we do not expect intelligent radio nodes to interfere with hospital medical devices," said Jurgen Hupp, head of communication networks at the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits. "While the transmit power required for RFID tag reading can be as much as two watts, radio nodes only transmit in the milliwatt range."

The scientists said their system is built upon a basic platform, allowing the units to be tailored for various applications.

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A six-month test phase is set begin in January at Erlangen University Hospital. Officials expect the system to be ready for use in about two years.

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