News posted on: 2020/10/13 15:14:43 - by - RFIDtagworld XMINNOV RFID Tag Manufacturer
The smart bottle uses RFID technology to track the usage of the seasoning pod
LifeFuels, a beverage company based in Virginia, has developed an RFID-enabled product that can track the taste of consumers when they use this product to make beverages, called Smart Nutrition Bottle.
The bottle allows users to create unique vitamin-rich beverages through separate pods (a container of flavoring), track what the user drank, and then capture and view this data in an iOS or Android-based application.
This bottle designed in-house by LifeFuels engineers can help consumers create their own beverage flavors and track how much they drink. Each beverage has three pods with flavoring effects. The company's vice president of engineering Mark Lyons (Mark Lyons) said that each pod contains a concentrated beverage that can be individually flavored or mixed with other flavorings.
Since the bottle was developed and launched a year ago, the company is now considering using RFID technology to track flavored pods for recycling management and customer reward programs.
In order to uniquely identify the condiment, the NFC RFID tag of each pod is encoded with a unique ID number, product name and inventory unit, and the updateable capacity indicates how many condiments are left in the pod. The built-in transceiver in the bottle can read and write label data, and the ultrasonic sensor can measure the amount of water in the 500mL bottle. The Bluetooth radio transmits the collected data to the user's application. Users can check how much data has been consumed, whether a specific flavor combination is sufficient, and place new orders in the app.
LifeFuels was founded in 2014 through angel investors. The company's $149 bottle comes with a rechargeable battery and charging station, and users can purchase various flavored pods every month. In order to realize the intelligence of the bottle, LifeFuels carried out internal engineering design and sought a system that can detect the flavor pod installed in it and when the user drinks the beverage. When the RFID technology is introduced, they also hope to be able to These pods are tracked internally for inventory management and a recycling program that is now under development.
Consumers who use the bottle buy the flavor pod and then insert it into the empty slot at the bottom of the bottle. Flavored pods usually provide 30 drinks, such as antioxidants blackberry raspberries, electrolyte citric acid and multivitamin peaches. Users can mix and match, mix various flavors in drinking water to make their own beverages.
After inserting the pod, as long as the mobile phone is connected to the bottle’s Bluetooth, consumers can view their own flavors in the app. Every time the user wants to make a drink, press the button on the side of the bottle, and then select the desired flavor. According to the user's choice, the bottle will be filled with appropriate spices. The ultrasonic sensor detects when the beverage is consumed. Each time the pod is dispensed, the transceiver reads its tag ID and writes new information to the tag to indicate the reduced part quantity.
The bottle can be synchronized with the user's mobile phone through the LifeFuels application, and its built-in Bluetooth transmitter sends the updated data to the user's mobile phone. The app will show which seasoning pods are in the bottle, the number of remaining servings, and the nutritional information of each pod. After consumers use up the pod, they can send the pod back to LifeFuels headquarters through the "Mail Recycling Program".
When LifeFuels found that the existing technology could not meet the above intelligent goals, they began to carry out internal engineering design. Lyons said: "We pursue quantification and have the ability to track the nutrients in our body, so we accepted RFID technology almost immediately. We chose NFC tags with a data-rich format to update each seasoning pod. status."
The tag has 144 bytes of user memory for recording product information and remaining quantity. LifeFuels chose to deploy NFC RFID within a short and reliable reading range, then designed its own transceiver and used hardware provided by NXP Semiconductors to read the label on the bottle. Each pod is equipped with 13.56 MHz NXP NTAG that meets the ISO 14443 standard.
Lyons recalled that developing a transceiver in a bottle was a technical challenge. "The usual strategy is to use a large and powerful antenna to read as many tags as possible, but we want to be able to locate the pod." The company not only needs to determine whether the bottle is equipped with a pod, but also the specific location of the pod. . Therefore, it designed a system with three antennas, with each antenna surrounding a separate pod. In this way, the system is designed so that if the pod is correctly aligned and connected to the bottle, only the label in the pod can be read. "It must be in the correct location to be read."
However, the company's tracking of each pod begins before the consumer inserts it into the bottom of the bottle. LifeFuels sticks RFID tags to each pod during production, uses a fixed reader to read these tags, and packs the pods from the company’s filling plant in Maryland to the headquarters in Reston, Virginia. . The tags will be read again at the headquarters, when they are put in storage, and when they are sent to consumers. The data is stored in the company's software for inventory management.
The pod has a mail recovery system. When LifeFuels receives the empty pod, the company will read the tag ID again. In the future, every time an empty pod is recovered, the system will keep an account in the consumer's account. This is a reward program that provides discounts or free products to people who recycle pods.
Lyons said: "We have always focused on sustainability, and the pods are also made of recyclable materials." However, although the pods can be recycled technically, most community facilities do not treat these smaller items. sort. At the same time, the company has been working with a customer to use these empty pods to make secondary materials. Therefore, LifeFuels encourages users to use the mail collection system.
According to Lyons, the consumer response so far has been satisfactory. "From an engineering design point of view, we are very proud. This is an extremely challenging product." At present, smart bottles are sold directly to customers through the company's website, and customers can receive a fixed quantity every month and deliver them regularly. Pod cabin.
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