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Track Record and Pedigree of Trolley Scan

"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."
(A letter received by Mike Marsh from a peer "out of the blue")
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.

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 applications.

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

M Marsh/T Hodson/ Trolley Scan's role
Others' role
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!!  

Our role in the development of very low cost passive RFID systems

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

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