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RFID Thread Woven Into Products Is Designed to Stop Theft, Counterfeiting

Several industrial linen companies in the United Kingdom and France are testing a new RFID tag that is literally woven into a textile or fabric product, which could hamper counterfeiters and thieves.

The E-Thread, developed by French start-up Primo1D, consists of an EPC ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID chip connected to two 10-centimeter-long (4-inch-long) antennas—extending from opposite sides of the chip—integrated into a thread (which could be made from polyester, cotton, wool or plastic) that is then woven into garments, linens, luxury items or industrial products. Because the thread is nearly impossible to visually identify as an RFID tag, the company claims, it cannot be located and removed or disabled by counterfeiters or thieves, and its durability enables the tag to last as long as the textile into which it is woven.

The solution is the result of work carried out by CEA-Leti, a French research institute that develops electronics and information technologies. In early 2013, CEA-Leti developed the RFID-enabled thread or yarn as part of a European project known as Platform for Advanced Smart Textile Applications (PASTA), to develop intelligence in textiles, according to Alain Papanti, Primo1D's chief sales and marketing officer. Dominique Vicard, the lead developer of the RFID-based thread at CEA-Leti, co-founded Primo1D in August 2013 to further develop and market the product.

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