Trolley Scan(Pty) Ltd
"During the course of our development and search of initial investors, we credited you as the 'father' of modern RFID. It is people like you ..... ...... that the RFID industry will owe a great debt Few know the difficulties true pioneers encounter and the benefits they bestow on others that follow their path."Both prior and subsequent to the formation of their company Trolley Scan, Mike Marsh and Trevor Hodson have had a major influence on the development of simple low cost RFID in the world over the past decade.
(A letter received by Mike Marsh from a peer "out of the blue")
Mike Marsh graduated with a B.Sc(Elec Eng) from Wits University South
Africa and started work for the National Institute of Telecommunications
Research of the CSIR in South Africa in 1974. Over the next 14 years he
worked on a variety of development projects, from short range high resolution
radar, ionospheric research, Omega navigation systems to advanced signal
processing systems and target signature classification methods..
In 1988 as part of the restructuring of the CSIR, Mike Marsh was appointed to lead one of the programmes in the newly formed Division of Microelectronics and Communications Technology as well as form part of the management team.
Cited as inventor/co-inventor on approximately 200 international patent applications.
Trevor Hodson graduated with a B.Sc(Elec Eng) from Wits University South
Africa and started work at the National Institute of Telecommunications
Research of the CSIR in South Africa in 1984. Specialised in project management,
microprocessor - digital - analog and system design and design of software
systems. Co-inventor of four major world first inventions in South Africa
since 1989. Cited as co-inventor on approximately 100 international patent
Supertag® protocol was developed by accident by Mike Marsh. While
attending a management strategy meeting in Pretoria at a place called "Aarbeidsaamheid"
in November 1990, he suddenly realised how a simple protocol could be implemented
that would allow any number of tags to be read. At that stage the development
team was not working on this problem, but just by chance stumbled across
the solution. From that time till today MM has been involved in developing,
promoting and commercialising transponders. In 1995 Transponder
News was started to promote transponder technology generally.
The following table illustrates the role Mike Marsh, Trevor Hodson and Trolley Scan have played in a very low cost RFID technology becoming available in the world. Although this table appears one sided, its purpose is to trace the key role played by these parties and it must be realised that major developments can only happen with the involvement of many skilled parties
|1967||Discovery of back scatter modulation||Patent by Baldwin et al of Lawrence Livermore Labs(since lapsed)|
|1991||Electronic Identification System patent||Discovery of protocol allowing many low cost transponders to operate on a single frequency. This became known as the Supertag(TM) protocols and are the property of CSIR.|
|1991||Multiple article identification patent||Principle allowing transponders to be scanned on 3 separate frequencies simultaneously to allow 3D scanning. Property of CSIR.|
|1994||Launch of demonstration of 35 transponders being read in a Supermarket Trolley||Press launch of Supertag(TM) showing potential for very low cost transponder systems|
|1994||MM & TH leave CSIR and form their own company.||Commencement of 4 year restraint of trade|
|1995||Transponder News started by MM as a information service to the public about transponder issues.||Current readership of 22000 pages of information per month from 56 suppliers of RFID systems. Includes weekly patent update.|
|1996||MM & TH contracted to design the first single chip UHF Supertag transponder for a Supertag licensee||Silicon foundries incorporate UHF diodes onto digital circuits||This was the first single chip low cost UHF transponder implementing the advantages of the Supertag protocol|
|1998||Supertag(TM) attracts at least seven potential commercialisation partners||Of these seven only one currently involved in producing a UHF version with one other having added extensively to the Supertag concept. These partners include two major ID players, namely Gemplus and EM. One other RFID producer might have "appropriated" Supertag principles into their anti collision protocols.|
|1998||Trolley Scan launch a new multiple article protocol which they trademark Trolleyponder||Trolleyponder is a completely new set of patents advancing the principles of low cost transponder development.|
|1998||Trolley Scan launch a new design allowing 3D scanning on a single operating frequency.||Major development as potential operating frequencies are scarce, especially in Europe|
|1998||Branders demonstration self checkout aisle for retail stores developed by Australian University student||TS provide technical support and encouragement to the University in support of their concept.|
|1999||Trolley Scan joined by six commercial partners world-wide interested in developing Trolleyponder||Partners in USA,New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Germany and UK|
|1999||Trolley Scan invent the EcoTag(TM) transponder system which allows passive UHF transponders to operate on the very low powers allowed in Europe while giving good range.||This is a major development as Europe had virtually blocked all passive UHF transponder operation by regulating very low RF powers. EcoTag allows the necessary frequency agility to handle compatibility between the US/EU markets while providing good range in Europe|
|1990-9||Many parties were involved in bringing these developments to commercial fruition.||Although MM/TH/TS are an important ideas source and a source of the designs/intellectual property, this project is so large that many have and there is still scope for many more to contribute.|
|2001||Trolley Scan develop an evaluation system to allow users to evaluate technology for their applications.||System comprises reader and 20 IDmodule versions of the transponder. User can just plug into PC to operate. Same EcioTag performance as production versions.|
|2001||Two major industrial companies sign licence agreements to start producing Trolleyponder/EcoTag transponders and readers in high volume.|
|2002||Trolley Scan develop an ISOcard sized version of EcoTag offering an 1800 times efficiency improvement compared to a standard transponder with shortened antenna. (ISOcard version needs just 0.4mW RF energy top operate|
|2002||High volume commercial parts delivered!!|
Technically low cost transponder systems that can even cost effectively replace barcoding systems are achievable. However the project is so large that just one major UK retailer would use the entire production capacity of 30 Trolleyponder licensees. By the time Trolleyponder technology gets produced in sufficient quantities, the current electronics industry which at present is largely committed to producing telephones, computers, cell phones etc., would need to increase its capacity ten fold. This obviously presents major growth opportunities for the electronic industry.
Trolley Scan realise that their role can only be to facilitate this rapid growth of RFID.
Trolleyponder,EcoTag and TinTag are the trademarks of Trolley Scan (Pty) Ltd
Supertag® is the trademark of CSIR