New Testing Protocols for RFID Systems on Medical Devices

Technology.am (Oct. 9, 2009) — The Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) is developing testing protocols for RFID technology in the health care setting.

gtriisdeveloGTRI researchers will test how RFID systems affect the function of implantable and wearable medical devices, such as pacemakers, implantable cardioverter defibrillators, neurostimulators, implantable infusion pumps and cardiac monitors.

Herkert and Gisele Bennett, director of GTRI’s Electro-Optical Systems Laboratory, will evaluate and determine the best method for measuring whether interference takes place as a result of RFID emission in both active and passive RFID technologies covering the spectrum from low-frequency to ultra high-frequency.

The researchers will test whether radio frequency-emitting devices cause any negative effects on the medical devices, and under what conditions these effects might occur.

To test the effects of RFID systems on medical devices, the researchers simulate real-world conditions by placing a medical device in a tank of saline solution that simulates the electrical characteristics of body tissue and fluid. The medical device is then exposed to different RFID technologies.

“We think the testing procedure for RFID systems will be similar to the EAS system procedure, but there are a few more challenges with the RFID systems because a person doesn’t always pass through a portal,” noted Bennett, who is also a member of AIM Global’s RFID Experts Group. “Medical devices can be affected by active tags with stronger signals or RFID systems reading passive tag signals.”

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