GENEVA, SWITZERLAND: STMicroelectronics has announced sample availability of the first in a new family of products that provide the flexibility to remotely program or update electronic products, anytime during their lifetime, and anywhere in the supply chain.
The new devices enable manufacturers to update parameters, regionalize or activate software without connecting a programmer, or even opening the retail packaging. This pioneering way to access the memory will allow businesses to add new functions and capabilities to their products, but also reduce manufacturing costs, simplify inventory management, and respond more quickly to changing market demands.
The M24LR64 is an EEPROM memory with a standard I2C serial interface, providing communication with most microcontrollers or ASICs, and also a standard ISO15693 RF (radio frequency) interface for wireless communications with RFID readers. The ISO15693 standard is passive RFID technology, which gathers both the energy and the data from the RF system. No power is required to operate the M24LR64 in RF mode, which enables on-board energy savings and provides easy and convenient remote access to electronic product parameters.
"This highly innovative ability to program or read a memory wirelessly, as well as electrically, will provide tremendous added-value to our customers, enabling highly flexible supply-chain management and also stimulating new types of products with powerful features and capabilities," said Benoit Rodrigues, General Manager, Memories Division, STMicroelectronics. "Moreover this new memory is compatible with existing RFID equipment, thereby delivering a wide range of solutions and an accessible technology to product manufacturers."
Based on two industry-standard interfaces, the new dual-interface product line provides a link between the operation
of electronic devices and the RFID world. This will enable new types of products, including those requiring asset tracking, data collection, diagnostics, or traceability, such as medical devices, industrial equipment, and automotive electronics.
Computer peripherals and consumer products will take advantage of the M24LR64 feature set for easy and convenient parameter and regional setting update, even when the device is in its package seal. Also, RFID systems requiring additional monitoring, such as cold-chain verification, will also benefit from the high memory density of the M24LR64.
The M24LR64 has a 64-Kbit capacity for storage of program code, product parameters, serial numbers, calibration data, or event-log data. Its RF ISO15693 interface can be accessed by a wide range of RF readers, covering hand-held devices, pad antennas, gate systems and tunnel readers. The memory also communicates with the host system via an industry-standard I2C interface operating at 400kHz from 1.8 to 5.5V. It also comes with a unique and flexible 32-bit password protection scheme to protect the application from unauthorized tampering or to prevent unexpected access to memory.
The Dual-Interface EEPROM products can be used with either on-board or off-board antenna types in a variety of form factors, allowing product designers to optimize aspects such as overall dimensions, communication range, and pc-board complexity. The M24LR64 is available in TSSOP-8, SO-8, and MLP 2 x 3 packages, or as bare die, at prices from $0.90 for orders of 1000 pieces. Sampling has already begun, with volume production scheduled for Q2 2010. ST plans to introduce additional members of the Dual-Interface EEPROM family in the second half of 2010.