The combination of chief operating officer and chief technology officer is rare, but in these Covid-19 pandemic times, having both roles together provides a significant advantage.
“As the COO I was looking at how we bring people back, looking at thermal camera systems, but these need employees to write down the temperature that the system detected,” said Charles Greene, COO and CTO of Powercast. “We have a whole line of RFID tags with PTC tags for building automation and I looked at that and thought we could change the form factor and change it to an IR sensor and use the software from the previous platform.
So Powercast adapted its existing RF energy harvesting transmitter and receiver technology to create a battery-free temperature measuring tag that allows employees to come back to the office safely.
“There’s an RFID antenna on the desk, you hold the fob over the reader and blinks when ready, scan your temperature until a blue LED blinks, then you hold the fob over the reader again to record the value,” he said.
“Out of the gate we wanted to go with a completely battery free system – even with rechargeable batteries they have a finite lifetime – we are using ceramic capacitors so the fob should match the time of the employees with the company,” he said. The fob stays with the employee, avoiding cross-contamination.
“There’s tremendous opportunities to extend the design. It’s been working great for us as its completely no touch,” he said.
This also solved the problems of uniquely identifying the employee and meet the regulations on monitoring temperature. Now as people are walking around the building using readers around the building, if someone does get sick and the company needs to do contact tracing, the data is available.
The RFID tag in the fob has a 3.5m range, and there is a sensor on the