Cheng, Nguyen Chosen for 2019 TechConnect Innovation Award

photograph of Chia-Lin Cheng
Chia-Lin Cheng

Chia-Lin Cheng and Luong Nguyen have been chosen for a 2019 TechConnect Innovation Award. They will be recognized at the TechConnect World Innovation Conference and Expo, which will be held June 17-19 in Boston, Massachusetts. 

Cheng and Nguyen are both Ph.D. students in the Georgia Tech School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), where they work in the Electromagnetic Measurements in Communications and Computing Lab (EMC^2). They are co-advised by ECE Associate Professor Alenka Zajic and Milos Prvulovic, a professor in the School of Computer Science.

Cheng and Nguyen will be recognized for their invention, “Antenna-less RFID Tag,” which they developed with Drs. Zajic and Prvulovic. It was filed as Georgia Tech invention disclosure GTRC-7744 on November 19, 2017 and then filed as U.S. Patent and Trademark Office provisional patent 62/588,551 on November 20, 2017. The antenna-less RFID tag requires neither a tag antenna nor RF front-end circuits, thus leading to a system that does not have limitations on the frequency at which a tag can operate, can be reprogrammed to perform different functions such as emitting static bits or having dynamic communication, and overall leads to a much simpler, smaller, and more reliable system. 

This technology is based on toggling electronic inverters that switch between two impedance states that can be read using any RF interrogator and a backscatter channel, which allows the information obtained by the RFID tag to be collected without the use of an antenna. This tag has the capability to operate at any frequency and can store a large number of static bits needed for asset identification and tracking, or it can be used for high data rate communication.

Additionally, the technology enables easy programming of the tag such that existing hardware such as FPGAs can be programmed to behave as RFID tags. Potential commercial applications for this technology include RFID communications, supply chain management, asset tracking, and passport identification.

photograph of Luong N. Nguyen
Luong N. Nguyen
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Jackie Nemeth - School of Electrical and Computer Engineering