Changing product prices on a continuous basis is a necessity in the retail environment. It is particularly time-consuming to manually change the paper labels as well as the batteries required by the battery-powered electronic price tags, and can often result in mismatching data and prices.
Retailers can resolve this issue using a new Batteryless Electronic UHF (Ultrahigh Frequency) Retail Price Tag developed by Powercast, which allows them to update entire shelves of merchandise instantly and wirelessly at distances of up to 2 meters away with any typical handheld or fixed RFID reader.
The tag features RF to DC power harvesting technology and a perpetual digital ePaper display from E-ink, allowing the screen to remain static without the need for a constant power source.
Of note is the use of an ePaper display from E Ink which can efficiently maintain the price image on the tag even when it’s outside of/not being directly powered by the UHF field.
E-Paper based pricing labels are widely used to digitally display the prices of goods at retail stores due to their readability and low power usage (power is only drawn when the display is updated).
The company also explained that when designing electronic tags, it selected the E Ink segmented display, which offers a more economical solution than the E-Ink active matrix displays typically used in battery-powered electronic tags. Further, it doesn’t require a high-end display driver.
Powercast’s Batteryless Electronic UHF Retail Price Tag Concept works as follows:-
- Select the tag(s) to update and the new price in an app on a handheld UHF reader.
- Point the reader at the price tag, up to two meters away, to securely send pricing data and RF energy over the air to Powercast’s tiny PCC110 Powerharvester wireless power receiver chip embedded in the tag.
- The chip converts RF to DC to power the tag without batteries and updates the display with the new, authenticated price in a few seconds.
- The tags don’t need batteries because they can harvest enough power just from a UHF RFID reader to operate perpetually.
An evaluation kit for the Batteryless Electronic UHF Retail Price Tag is expected in Q4 2018 from distributors Arrow Electronics and Mouser Electronics.
The concept tag is available for license or Powercast will work with partners to design their own batteryless price tags using Powercast’s PCC110 chip.