Characterization and Design Methodologies for Wearable Passive UHF RFID Tag Antennas for Wireless Body-Centric Systems

Karoliina Koski

    Research output: Book/ReportDoctoral thesis

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    Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a wireless automatic identification technology that utilizes electrically active tags – low-cost and low-power wireless communication devices that let themselves transparently and unobstructively be embedded into everyday objects to remotely track information of the object’s physical location, origin, and ownership. At ultra-high frequencies (UHF), this technology uses propagating electromagnetic waves for communication, which enables the fast identification of tags at large distances. A passive RFID tag includes two main components; a tag antenna and an RFID integrate circuit (tag IC). A passive tag relies solely on the external power harvested from an incident electromagnetic wave to run its circuitry and for data transmission. The passiveness makes the tag maintenance-free, simple, and low-cost, allowing large-scale commercial applications in the supply chain, ticketing, and asset tracking. The future of RFID, however, lies in the transition from traditional embedded applications to wearable intelligent systems, in which the tags are seamlessly integrated with everyday clothing. Augmented with various ambient and biochemical sensors, the tag is capable of detecting physical parameters of its environment and providing continuous monitoring of human vital signs. Tremendous amount of tagged entities establish an intelligent infrastructure that is personalized and tailored to the needs of each individual and ultimately, it recedes into the background of our daily life. Although wearable tags in intelligent systems have the enormous potential to revolutionize the quality of human life, the emerging wearable RFID applications introduce new challenges for designers developing efficient and sophisticated RFID systems. Traditional tag design parameters and solutions will no longer respond to the new requirements. Instead, the whole RF community must adopt new methods and unconventional approaches to achieve advanced wearable tags that are highly transparently integrated into our daily life. In this research work, an empirical as well as a theoretical approach is taken to address the above-mentioned wearable RFID tag challenges. Exploiting new analysis tools in combination with computational electromagnetics, a novel technique to model the human body in UHF applications for initiating the design of optimized wearable tags is developed. Further, fundamental unprecedented UHF characteristics of advanced wearable electronics materials – electro-textiles, are established. As an extremely important outcome of this research work, innovative optimization methodologies for the promotion of novel and advanced wearable UHF antennas are proposed. Particularly, it is evidenced that proper embroidery fabrication techniques have the great potential to realize wearable tag antennas exhibiting excellent RF performance and structural properties for the seamless integration with clothing. The kernel of this research work is the realization of a flexible and fully embroidered passive UHF RFID patch tag prototype achieving optimized performance in close vicinity of the high-permittivity and dissipative human body. Its performance may be considered as a benchmark for future wearable antenna designs. This shows that this research work outcome forms an important contribution to the state of the art and a milestone in the development towards wearable intelligence.
    Translated title of the contributionCharacterization and Design Methodologies for Wearable Passive UHF RFID Tag Antennas for Wireless Body-Centric Systems
    Original languageEnglish
    PublisherTampere University of Technology
    Number of pages55
    ISBN (Electronic)978-952-15-3441-6
    ISBN (Print)978-952-15-3434-8
    Publication statusPublished - 23 Jan 2015
    Publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)

    Publication series

    NameTampere University of Technology. Publication
    PublisherTampere University of Technology
    ISSN (Print)1459-2045


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