Kovio Inc., a privately held Silicon Valley company, announced this week the development of the world's first silicon ink based RFID and launch of its printed silicon RFID platform for item-level intelligence. This platform enables the development of affordable item-level RFID intelligence solutions for various markets including retail, pharmaceuticals, transit, logistics, and asset management.
Kovio has developed a technology platform based on the combination of high performance silicon inks and graphics printing technology. This enables fabrication of silicon devices over large areas, on flexible substrates, and at a fraction of the cost of conventional silicon technology. Kovio's additive printed silicon technology is significantly more clean and resource efficient than conventional silicon technology. In addition, the printed silicon platform will facilitate additional item level intelligence, beyond identification, by integrating printed sensors and displays.
This announcement was made during a presentation by Kovio CEO Amir Mashkoori. "Printed electronics is no longer a vision and is here" said Mashkoori. "The platform will enable new opportunities for advertisers, retailers, consumer package good manufacturers, and system integrators to provide instantaneous and contextual experiences to everyone who interacts, uses and purchases everyday consumer goods."
The first products based on this patented platform technology are printed silicon HF integrated circuits (PIC) with 128-bits of printed read only memory. The Kovio HF (13.56MHz) PIC will be the foundation for Kovio's low cost HF RFID tag family. The features of Kovio's HF PICs includes synchronous tags-talk-first mode of operation, 106kbps data rate, integrated capacitor, and printed read-only-memory. In addition, Kovio's PICs dramatically reduce the overall cost of tag manufacturing through features such as large PIC bond pads and use of ultra-thin metal foil substrates. Large bond pads improve attach reliability, simply attach requirements, and lower antenna costs. The use of thin metal foil starting substrates precludes the need for wasteful thickness reduction used by traditional IC manufacturers for conventional silicon ICs.
"While there has been a lot of talk about RFID over the past decade, affordability is the number one requirement for RFID to displace the barcode for item-level intelligence," said Rob Chandra of Bessemer Venture Partners, an early investor in Kovio. "With Kovio's printed silicon platform, we are now ready to truly extend RFID to where it matters the most - the consumer."
"Item-level tagging is going to be the biggest market for RFID, and Kovio's game-changing technology is bringing RFID to the price-point required for item-level adoption much sooner than anyone could have expected," said Raghu Das, CEO, IDTechEx. "Now, less than a year since the company announced an all-printed thin-film transistor, Kovio is taking the technology out of the lab and into the commercial environment at a very brisk pace."
Kovio is working with leading system integrators, solution providers, and converters to ensure the availability and reliability of Kovio's HF PIC based products. Kovio will begin customer sampling of its new products in Q4 2008 and start production shipments shortly thereafter. Initial applications include item-level brand promotions and advertising, authentication, asset management, and ticketing.
For more information hear from Kovio at the IDTechEx Printed Electronics USA 2008} event. IDTechEx is also hosting a tour to their facilities.
Top image: Amir Mashkoori, CEO, Kovio