A Low-Power Asset Tracking System (RollCall)


The objective of this project is to build low-power, highly-robust asset tracking system by using transmit-only RFID tags.

Using RFID tags to provide continuous asset/inventory tracking is a promising application domain. Nonetheless, we have not witnessed wide deployment of such systems. We believe that meeting the system and economic requirements of these applications requires a redesign of the tag, the transmission protocol, and the tag-identification algorithms at readers, with reducing cost and power consumption as the main design objective. In this project, we design a novel inventory tracking system, called \emph{RollCall}, in which a transmit-only RFID tag will be attached to every item, and these tags will report their presence to the readers periodically by broadcasting the tag IDs so that a missing tag/item can be quickly identified. The power conservation from the usage of short transmissions and not having a receiver on the tag provides the advantages of an active transmitter while retaining the long service life of a passive tag. The key challenges of this research include: (1) the design and manufacture of low-cost and low-power tags, and (2) the design and implementation of effective tag identification algorithms at readers. The latter is particularly challenging because tag transmissions are likely to collide with each other because of the absence of radio receiving/listening capability.

This project is a collaborative project between Rutgers and Inpoint Inc., and is still in its early phase. Currently, we have manufactured the first-generation tags, have designed preliminary reader algorithms, and are in the process of building a pilot system to incorporate all the components.


  • RollCall : The Design For A Low Cost And Power Efficient Active RFID Asset Tracking System
    Gautam Bhanage, Yu Zhang, Yanyong Zhang, Trappe Wade, and Rich Howard
    Proceedings of Eurocon 2007, 2007. [
  • Facilitating an Active Transmit-only RFID System through Receiver-based Processing
    Yu Zhang, Gautam Bhanage, Wade Trappe, Yanyong Zhang, and Rich Howard
    Proceedings of the Fourth Annual IEEE Communications Society Conference on Sensor, Mesh, and Ad Hoc Communications and Networks, 2007. [
  • Relay MAC: A Collision Free and Power Efficient Reading Protocol for Active RFID Tags
    Gautam Bhanage, and Yanyong Zhang
    Proceedings of the 15th International Conference on Computer Communications and Networks (ICCCN), 2006.[

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