– I’m here in New York City and my goal for this weekend is to try and build my own RFID tag (mellow electronic music) If you saw the video I made about finding the cashier-less store in Yiwu, China you’ll know that I took apart an RFID tag to see how it worked And one thing lead to another and my friend Stuart challenged me to make my own RFID antenna – I mean you said before it’s gonna be easy right? – Well, that wasn’t quite what I said I don’t think it will be that hard And as far as all good dares go this one is about to go way, way too far (mellow electronic music) I’m here in New York for the HOPE Conference which stands for Hackers On Planet Earth It’s one of my favorite conferences and I thought this RFID project would be the perfect thing to bring with me to see if I can, well, nerd-snipe some other really smart hackers into helping me It’s really two part scavenger hunt and one part hacking and debugging And well, I’ve been cheating a little bit Okay, okay, I’ve been cheating a lot First, we needed to go back to the scavenger hunt part This all started about two weeks ago when I was still back in Shenzhen, China One of the problems I didn’t yet know how to solve was how I was gonna get these little tiny chips that power the tag And well, serendipity struck because I got an email from Gayle the director of marketing at Impinj which is the company that makes the RFID tags Let me read you that email “Hello Scotty, it was fun to see my inbox and text messages light up with so many people from different parts of my life who saw your video on the cashier-less store in China Starting with my 16 year old son, who is a huge fan of yours John, the guy who designed the antenna you looked at is eager to tell you just how complicated that job really is Our indie product manager Max wants to send you a developers kit And Mark, our Monza product manager offered to show you how to build an antenna out of a paperclip You made a bunch of nerdy Seattlites happy yesterday.” But we started exchanging emails and I started to worry that maybe they didn’t really understand the lengths that I was willing to go to to make something like this work So I had some work to do I found some packaged Impinj RFID chips on Tow Bow I also learned from Impinj that they use what’s called ACP Anisotropic Conductive Paste to attach the chips to the aluminum antennas And so they said you know, you’re gonna need a fairly big, industrial, expensive machine to do this probably not something you can bring to a conference After a little bit of online research I found that it’s actually used also in repairing LCD screens And so I did what I always do when I have a weird, unspecified question about cell phone repair supplies and I went to Xuan, of the Tool Brothers It turns out, they use ACF instead of ACP film instead of paste We are headed to try and go find? – ACF – ACF, but it has to be in the refrigerator It has to be cold – Refrigerate – Yeah – Yes, yes – So it’s not here in the markets because there are no refrigerators in the markets So he took me up to their office up in one of the office towers and they had some ACF that I could buy as well as gave me a demonstration of how their machines work – Okay – Okay (buttons beeping) (machine whirring) – It’s like – That’s it Oh, there we go Yeah, okay (Scotty chuckling) What now? Now, the boss that designs these machines said the same thing that the Impinj guys said which was that I needed a lot of heat and a lot to pressure to make this work properly But the question is, if I wanted to do this improperly could I still make it work? So I described all this to Stuart over dinner and well, one thing lead to another and we ended up back at my apartment at like, midnight So I have collected a whole bunch of crazy things I’ve got a crazy soldering iron contraption, chips aluminum foil in various, very thin thicknesses and we’re gonna give this a shot – So what’s the possible goal? Are you kinda trying to make this do the same outline? – Yeah, as fact I figured I’d just trace it, cut it out stick the chip on it, boom, done – Done (men laughing) – Here’s the chips that I got which are in like, the plastic package for soldering them to circuit boards Which is totally not what we’re gonna do because we have aluminum and you can’t solder to aluminum It just doesn’t stick We’re gonna put down ACF, it’s like super fancy So this is a Tool Brother special This is a regular soldering iron with the big tip taken out and this crazy t-bar contraption with a silicon pad in the end of it Supposedly we can use this to tack down the ACF

Should we stick to the foil first? – I’d be tempted to just put two pieces of foil on, make it like a foil- – Yeah okay – adhesive sandwich – Whoa (Stuart laughing) That is my silicon pad here (men chuckling) Oh it’s so good, I did not, that was not in the realm of possibility of the things that I thought might happen – [Stuart] There we go – [Scotty] Well it looks pretty toasted doesn’t it? – Yes That is just a sliver of foil we cut Yeah, yeah, that’s a thing – I declare victory and think we should, how will we test it with a, is there a way to test it to the IC? – Have we got any of the things that we could try to bond to like some SMT components? – Sure, I have a bunch of passives – Yeah, so something like that – All right, yeah – Okay so right now, we have a soldering iron with a modified tip that’s too hot – I mean I probably could just use a soldering iron- – Yeah, right – just use the HAKKO – Yeah – Even, actually let’s do that We’ll put this right there on the HAKKO Let’s just go, that’s pretty on there – Look at that It’s pretty good – All right So, let’s do a test (chip beeping) – Oh man – Dude! The most important thing that I wanted to figure out is, is this ACF approach at all viable – Yeah – And I think definitively I can say yes ACF with a soldering iron is not a completely crazy idea – To foil, right – I think what the thing to do now is to send an email to Impinj being like, “I have figured out how to bond the chips to aluminum, can I have some please?” – It’s all about bonding and I see to that – that aluminum – And I made an antenna Because that is an outstanding- – It’s not a crazy idea – I think we should give that a go man (chip beeping) (men cheering and laughing) There we go – I did not expect that to work (men laughing) So, I mean, I guess I don’t really need bare die chips to make this work (chip beeping) – No – What’s the first one? – Actually I don’t really need anything other than to sit down with an X-Acto knife at this point Thank you man for a crazy adventure – That was great – That was bomb – Consider me impressed thus far – So, at this point I’m pretty confident that this is definitely possible I sent some pictures of the franken-tag that Stuart and I put together to our friends at Impinj and they got super excited and they said okay, not only are we gonna send you a dev kit and a reader and some sample tags but we’re also gonna send you like, a bunch of bare dies and some stuff we scraped off a wafer and everything I really needed to go to the lengths that I really wanted to go So right now, I’m on my way to the Hotel Pennsylvania to set up the microscope for the conference and see if I can convince some hackers that are smarter than I am to help me build working RFID tags (mellow electronic music) We’re here at the HOPE Conference in New York I’m here with Simon, who says he doesn’t want to be on camera And so Simon has hijacked this He said, “Well I don’t I just use a loop of copper as an antenna?” – [Simon] Yeah, so I managed to thin the pads of that small, encapsulated chip And I attached a strand of a copper wire on one pad Right now I’m trying to bend it to align so that I can attach the other side Then it would have a loop and maybe that’s enough to power the chip So I think it solders on properly It just chips off super easily – So Simon, you have said that you’re ready to test You finally got it soldered? Do you want to bring it over here? So I’ve got the reader running Okay that one can read Oh wait, no, no, no, wait, wait! Oh yeah, that’s reading – [Simon] That is the sketchiest tag ever – That is amazing I would not have guessed that that would work Simon, who does not want to be on camera has successfully soldered a working antenna out of just like, a copper coil That is super cool – [Simon] So, proof of concept is really sketchy antenna still works – [Scotty] Yeah – [Simon] This is really sketchy antenna – Yeah, so that gives me hope that like, as far as it comes to antenna design like, the two ends need to connect – [Simon] Yeah – And that’s about it – It needs a- – Now I’m feeling kind of silly for spending all of this time like, sourcing ACF and aluminum and like, all of this stuff, yeah We could have just hooked up a wire So just so I understand here you’re going to take one of the iPhone 7 headphone adapter boards

that I made for the iPhone headphone adapter video and you’re gonna try and turn this into an RFID tag? – Why not, yeah – By soldering an RFID chip to it, that is super awesome And you’re also the guy, who, as a teenager bought a mainframe and dug out your basement- – Yes – To fit it into your basement? – In my parents basement, yeah – Parents basement, that is- – My father helped with that They weren’t on board originally but when it showed up at the house on a trailer they pretty much had no choice but to go along with it So this little loop we had to make to get the loop in the circuit for the antenna But otherwise, the chip’s just soldered to the back there and this should be a functioning RFID tag It’s reading, if we can get it off – [Scotty] That is incredible Tell us what’s going on here – So we just were curious as to what was going on with these RFID tags In the development software you can see that the tags are responding on different frequencies and it’s seemingly random So we wanted to see what the transmitter was doing what kind of frequency hopping it was doing So we busted out a software defined radio and we’re looking at about 30 megahertz of bandwidth The colors indicate signal strength and these really strong signals here are the transmitter If we stop the transmitter you notice that the- – Whoa! – spectrum clears up – I am finally, after all this experimentation and good hacking fun I’m gonna sit down on the last day here and try and make a working tag that more or less looks like this Gonna cut it out of aluminum foil try and bond it with the ACF and see if we can get it to read I’m just gonna use one of these tags as a template to get the shape of the antenna correct Pretty close, not bad Now I need to cut a little slit here and bond in my chip Now I need my ACF So that should be enough just to tack it down And then gonna lift off So now, I think what worked before when I was playing around with it with Stuart was put the chip down first upside down and then put the aluminum foil over the top and you can sorta get the pads aligned better So what is this ACF stuff anyway? And what makes it so interesting? Why not just use solder? So two reasons, the first is that we’re making the antenna out of aluminum and solder just doesn’t stick to aluminum So we have to use something else The other reason, and this is what makes ACF really special Is that it only conducts electricity in one direction It only conducts electricity vertically and not horizontally Which is pretty darn magical And I want to explain more about how that works ’cause I didn’t understand when I first got this stuff how that could possibly be But I’m gonna need some props so hang on (mellow electronic music) Okay, so Here’s the deal Anisotropic conductive paste has these teeny tiny conductive particles in it We’re gonna use cheese balls as an example Now, the conductive particles get sandwiched between two conductors like this and they get squished just a little bit so that they’re in compression and they’re pushing on the two outside surfaces Now, a cheese ball is conducting from the lower surface to the upper surface But, there are a bunch of cheese balls So if we put too many cheese balls in then they all touch each other and they conduct horizontally like that But if we spread them out like this then none of them touch each other but they all touch the upper and the bottom surface like this Now why is this important? And the reason it’s important is that it’s used when you have a bunch of different conductors, say my fingers like this that you don’t want to touch each other right? So you want this, let’s say this is a pad for like, a ribbon cable on an LCD right? You want all of these to be electrically separated but you have another set that you want to stick to them and they’re all right next to each other So how do you put paste or film down without conducting from one to the other? And that’s where ACP or ACF comes in So you end up with balls on each of the fingers and maybe some in between but because none of them are touching, like this you don’t end up with any continuity between the fingers Isn’t that cool? Now, they use it for attaching flex cables

to the backs of LCD screen glass They also use it for RFID antennas when the chips are tiny tiny and they’re bonding bare die chips onto an antenna Oh man, I’m covered in cheese powder now I should have also bought napkins Let’s try it Nope (Scotty gasps) – Oh! – It works – [Man] Holy shit – There it goes (Scotty laughing) You should totally make one – Yeah I mean, if you can teach me then anybody can do this – Yeah, that’s good – All right – And then just hit it with the soldering iron Yeah So the challenge is you don’t have much of a gap there you’ll see when you get the chip in there it’s gonna be too narrow Yeah, that should be good (man laughing) That is nicely done – That is a good feeling It doesn’t look like much but there’s been like, three days of people here at this table trying to make this happen It’s a good mixture of like, electronics and arts and crafts – Okay, so I think we can totally declare success on this We have a whole bunch of other tags we made this weekend but there’s one thing left to do Which is to properly test this (mellow electronic music) Well, it’s been fun New York City I am on my way to Seattle to go see Impinj to put these RFID tags in their anechoic chamber and see what we did As well as talk to the guy who actually designed these antennas (lively ambient music) Impinj is nice enough to fly me to their offices to test out the antennas and tags we made in their anechoic chamber to see how they perform I want to be extra clear on this I’m not being paid to make this video But SueMay did give me a free microscope and Impinj sent me a whole bunch of chips and a reader, and a dev kit and they’re paying for the flight out to Seattle So I just want to be careful to disclose that and make sure that it didn’t seem like I was trying to sneak an advertisement by you guys here (calm uplifting music) (ticket scanner beeping) (calm uplifting music) – [Hostess] 100% full (calm uplifting music) – I’m really excited to test these tags out but I’m also really excited to learn more about people who actually know what they’re doing and do this for a living designing these antennas And learn more about the chips that power them – Hi – [Scotty] How are you? Nice to meet you – Nice to meet you, welcome – [Scotty] Likewise, thanks – Mark – Mark White – Good to meet you finally – Nice to meet you – You can – [Scotty] You must be John Nice to meet you, I’m Scotty So I brought you guys the tags that we made in New York I don’t think it’s quite what you guys are expecting (men chuckling) And so that was modeled off the one that I found on the beer can right? So off this one – Yes – That’s really cool, did you trace it, or? – Yeah, I just used this as a stencil on top of the aluminum and then used ACF for the attachment – ACF? – So like ACP – Oh! – But film instead of paste – Oh – And so I thought the first thing that would be really cool to do is to just test these out in your test environment – Yes – And you can tell us how good or how bad (Ken laughing) each of these antennas are – Sure, why not? – [Scotty] Wow! – So we’re in the chamber This is what you call an anechoic chamber There is an acoustic version there’s a radio frequency version This is our small chambers So it’s just good for RFID tag testing really This is designed to just pretty much emulate an infinite space So anechoic, just by definition, means no echo So if you have anything in the space then it’s gonna bounce back so you’re eliminating that meaning you’ve got an infinite open space that’s clean And it also shields everything that’s coming in from outside – Should we start by testing one of the tags that you guys made? – Yes, let’s do that – And then we can test the ones that I brought with me? – Yes – And see how they compare – So, yup – Okay – So what this is doing is at every frequency it’s modifying the transmit power and looking at the minimum power for the tag to turn on So it’s shifting, and we’ve got certain resonance, frequencies So this is called Power on Tag Forward or that minimum power for the tag to turn on So the lower the level here

the lower this number the less power that’s needed for the tag – So the better the tag’s performing – Yeah – Right – Yeah – I want to talk more about that but first, I want to try the things that we designed and that we made to see if, to see how they compare to what you do – Alright, let’s do it (Scotty laughing) – Well let’s start with my copy of your antenna – Okay (Scotty humming) – When you were testing- – Not looking good – were you pretty close range? – Yeah – So if you have this loop if you have the chip connected – Yeah – When you’re in close range it’s pretty much the magnetic fields that are working together This long portion, it gets you that long range- – Yeah – portion of it So you can have something that works close-range and then doesn’t work long-range – Yeah, okay – So – Okay, so it’s not reading at all – No, it’s not responding – All right, in the mean time let’s try Patrick’s Oh man, nothing Let’s try one of the circuit boards, because I, this is actually soldered Oh man So nothing there (men chuckling) Okay, this is the one that doesn’t have a loop at all – So the other one, let’s see if it does any better – This is definitely humbling though (Scotty and Ken laughing) – Oh don’t worry, like, I did the antenna work in grad school but it took me two to three years before I was proficient – Really? – Yeah, so – After grad school? – Yeah – Yeah So this is the loop that you guys built with a paper clip radiator that Joey made Really? Nothing So you’re gonna sanity check these for us Mark here? – Yeah – And see, like because we didn’t get them to read on the other – We didn’t – [Scotty] In the anechoic chamber – But, this one’s reading – [Scotty] Okay, good – And this one’s also reading So that tells me that they’re working close-range near field – [Scotty] So they weren’t damaged in shipping – Not to the point where they don’t work at all – I mean, to be clear like, I don’t think we did a particularly good job at this So I’m not convinced they’re any different than they were last weekend – Okay – But I think what I’m hearing from you guys is that I shouldn’t quit my day job as a YouTuber and go into business making RFID tags That maybe I should leave that to you guys So honestly, one of the things that’s still fuzzy to me is like, how, just the basics of like, how a passive RFID works Because these tags don’t have batteries in them – Right – Mhmm – Right, but they have chips that are powered by electricity – Yes – Yeah – And that honestly still seems like magic And I was wondering if you guys could give me like, the expert’s explanation – Sure Okay, so this tag is a transponder – Okay – It takes the signal that comes from the air and it responds back to a reader – Okay – So you’ll have a reader, which I’ll represent with this box So let’s say we’ve got this tag here – Yup – This antenna will receive the signal it’s gonna back scatter a response back – And as part of that signal it’s generating electricity that’s turning the chip on right? Because normally the chip is just off like there’s no electricity – Yeah Yeah – One way I have been trying to mentally picture this is okay, so, the tag is turning RF energy into electrical energy That’s powering the chip It seems like one way you can do this is like, charge up a capacitor so store up some energy and then the transmitter stops transmitting and then you transmit back out on the antenna – Sure – I get the sense that maybe that’s wrong – So, what’s actually happening here is it’s modifying if the energy is going into the chip or not – [Scotty] Okay – So it’s doing open, close, open, close – [Ken] Yeah, so it’s pretty much reflecting high or reflecting low So it’s like a mirror, no mirror to a light It’s the exact same idea – Okay Okay Well should be go learn more about how you guys design tags? We’ve learned a lot about how I am bad at designing tags (Mark and Scotty laughing) – There’s a few steps to it There’s one, it’s a primitive prototyping process where I use actual copper tape So it’s not that different from what you did – Okay! – I’ll probably cut out that H61 design So that’s the actually the copper tape – This looks like a craft vinyl cutter – It really is – Is that what it is? – That’s exactly what that is So right now I’m just aligning the blade so it will actually start at the same point – [Scotty] Okay – And then we just tell it to cut (machine whirring) – [Scotty] That’s awesome That’s fast too – Yup, so we just peel away what’s unnecessary And then we actually take one of the inlays and then actually solder on like, a little strap All right, so now, we get the soldering iron heated up – So now you’re just peeling up the extra copper- – Right, exactly – that’s not part of the tag – Yup, so this is same as primitive etching if you want to call it – Yeah Yup – So there you go – Wow – And then you just pull out the center and there you go – [Scotty] That’s great – [Ken] Yup so, I just take this length out from here – [Scotty] That’s already got the chip? – [Ken] Yup – [Scotty] Oh – [Ken] So that’s why we recycle the-

– Oh! – unused, yeah, chips that I bought already – [Mark] Get the precision with this – [Ken] And then I just solder across – That is super simple – Then, yeah, you got a working prototype So actually, the interesting, probably one of the interesting machine that we have here is actually this machine Again, it doesn’t look that different from your station right? – Yeah, except that it’s got a needle – Yup, so the needle is actually a vacuum tip – Okay – So it picks, it actually helps us pick up these tiny chips that you’ve seen already – Right – So this actually here is actually ACP in a liquid form right now – Okay – It’s uncured – So this ACP is the paste version of the film that I used – Right, precisely – But same deal, just different – Same exactly It’s heat activated – Different form factor – It’s just fluid, you pick up a chip you have to do all the flipping and positioning – Yeah – And when you come down to a chip like, there’s usually pads There’s actually two gap and you have to place the chip in the middle Yeah so right now, there’s actually resister with this power source that actually you just, if you see this plate of light come up it’s actually heating it So we’re actually putting the inlay on top of it while we press down with it That’s actually a pressure sensor – Yup – So we put it down, put the chip glue, chip, and then hold it and while we heat it And then it actually cures it It takes about 30 seconds – Okay – So I just took some ACP onto this dental pick and then just kinda put a just little bit of drop and then onto the where the chip is going to land And then now I’m actually heading over to where the chips are Picking up using a vacuum tip So now I just picked up a chip with the active side down I’m navigating over to where the inlay gap is push down press the foot pedal and then it actually starts curing it It takes about 30 seconds So all right, there you go There you go – [Scotty] There we go – [Ken] It’s alive – It works So this rig is you’re taking these bare die chips off the wafer – Yup – They’ve been sliced – Yup – But the wafer’s been sliced up and you’re attaching them to what? – To inlays, so these, let me show you some of the prototype inlays So these are actually etched copper – Okay – It’s a typical PCB etching process We actually asked them to etch it on a 2 mil sub straight – Okay – And they come like this – Yup – And we can place it with the aluminum work exactly the same way – Okay, so copper versus aluminum doesn’t matter – Nope – So thank you guys so much This is super cool to see how you do it And realize that actually it’s not all that different than what we tried at HOPE – Not really – But one thing that occurred to me as we were doing all of this is that it seems like as much of the wisdom that you’re putting into the antenna design a lot of the magic that’s happening here is actually happening inside of the chip – Yes – And so, I guess I was wondering can we learn more about how that works? – Yeah, let me toss you over to Varsha who’s actually overseeing a lot of the manufacturing process that we actually do – On the chip side? – Yup – Okay, awesome – All right, so – Yeah, let’s go talk with her – All right – So I’m Varsha, and I’m responsible for all the silicon manufacturing We are a fab-less company as you can see Fab-less means, it’s just industry term it refers to no fabrication We are just a design and test house So that’s what we have here in Seattle We have the design team for the chip and then we have some testing, some final inspection But we rely on our suppliers overseas primarily, to do all of the manufacturing – Right – So that’s starting right from the foundry that builds up the design that you’ve given them on the silicon, the silicon wafer And then taking it through the entire backend step where you go through testing then you put down your connection layers in the backend you know, you could grow bumps or you could grow large copper pads like the ones you saw And then it keeps going into singulation So this is what the wafer is coming out of the foundry The wafer basically starts with just silicon The raw material is sand – [Scotty] Yeah – On the beach basically and it goes through a lot of sophisticated processing And you build what you call a silicon ingot Which is basically these long cylinders of silicon which then get chopped up into like, some industry standard thickness Yeah, so basically you start with the raw material as this and then the design, which is the IP just gets printed onto it And the technology behind it is actually very, very sophisticated Just to give you an idea, just to build this RFID chip which is relatively simpler compared to like, a microcontroller or something There’s easily over a hundred operation steps that it goes through in the foundry and made – And they’re building up different layers – Uh-huh – and then etching them away Is that the right way? – Exactly, yeah And we get this wafer back for testing – Got it – And so- – And so is that what’s come into, sitting here in this room? – Yes, so the wafers out here

these have come in for testing Well, if you had to guess how many die do you think are on this wafer? – Yeah, like thousands? Maybe more – Thousands is conservative, sure – Okay. (chuckling) – [Varsha] So yeah, that’s one tag – That’s teeny tiny This looks like maybe a quarter of a piece of normal glitter – Yeah, so basically to give you an idea the thickness of this wafer is basically equal to a strand of human hair – Okay, yup – So there’s about a hundred thousand die Over a hundred thousand die on this wafer – Over a hundred thousand dies And so do you guys test every single die on the wafer? – Yes, we test every single die on the wafer – Wow! – So we have the EG probers back there and so we have these test sites that we land on So on each of these, each of the shots you see these couple of die that look a little different – [Scotty] Yeah – And so basically, those are our test locations So the probe carts, they’re actually the tips are like cantilevers on there And so basically you basically land on the ATI’s and it enables you to test multiple die at the same time And then from there it moves on to what we call the backend process – Okay, yeah – The backend process is what enables you to get the wafers to the end product that goes out to a customer – Okay – So you need to, what comes out of the foundry is not enough, you actually have to build on it So repassivation is our first step in the backend process And basically what they’re doing is it’s putting down a thick layer of like a polymer And the purpose of this layer is as the tags get picked and placed there’s different bonding forces that get applied on the inlay manufacturing machines The repassivation basically acts like a buffer And then the second piece is the metal the large copper pads that you saw – Right, yeah – So basically when your, the chip is coming out of the foundry you have a couple of regions what you call a bond pad but the top metal, where the passivization the passivization layer’s opened up – Okay – Because that’s how you make metallic connection to your tag But that usually tends to be very small coming out of the foundry Hence, the backend kinda takes that and enhances it – Okay – So usually people grow tall copper pillars or gold pillars if you’re in the automotive industry In order to singulate this is a really thick wafer If you have to start dicing through this it’s gonna take forever to get through it So you need to thin it The reason the foundry wafers come out with this thickness is it’s just, it’s sort of an industry standard for handling with all the robotics that are out there I’d say like, 200 microns and the silicon starts getting floppy And that’s when it starts needing extra help – Yeah, okay – Like, this is definitely under 200 – Okay – [Varsha] Which is why it’s on a carrier – And this is like, a flexible tape right? – It’s like a polyolefin, yeah Everything that gets thinned and diced will invariably go on a carrier of some form And then at that point, it goes on for singulation And the singulation- – And singulation is literally just cutting it apart? – Chopping it up Do you want to guess how long that takes? (Varsha laughing) – So, well let me get clear on the process first so I have an informed guess Is that right? – So there’s multiple technologies out there – Oh okay – The mechanical saw is, the mechanical diamond saw blade is the most popular And then through the carbons- – But the saw blade is like an essentially thin piece of wire Is that right? – Actually no – No? – It’s like a little, it’s like a disk – So it’s sort of like a pizza wheel coming down – It’s like a pizza wheel Exactly, it’s a pizza cutter – Okay – Yeah, exactly – So I would guess like, a couple hours per wafer – Yeah, that’s pretty close And about there, yeah – Oh okay – About like an hour-ish a wafer – Can you give us a sense of sort of what, at the like, design end of the process what are you guys doing that makes these chips so tolerant to a wide variety of antenna designs? Is that, is this more of a Mark question? – Do you want to take that Mark? – Well yeah, so I’m not in the design space for it – Okay – A lot of the complexity and the design is in the impedance value in the chip How well it’s able to respond automatic tuning capability, we all it auto tune – Okay – Where the chip can tune its front end impedance automatically as it’s powering up There’s a lot that’s going on behind the scenes there for designing the NDM designing the RF front end – Yeah – And then there’s the controller piece that is translating the signal coming into writing and reading information from the tag – Okay, is that sort of the main three sort of logical parts of one of these chips? – Mhmm – Mhmm – Okay – Yeah, so front end – RF, controller and then memory – Mhmm – Mhmm, yup – Okay – And it’s effectively, you could think of it like a piece of memory that you can access from you know, 10 meters away – Which is a totally crazy thing – Yeah – Mhmm – And completely passively – This is super cool and thank you so much for sharing with me- – Yeah, absolutely – a whole new world of electronics – It is, it is, been around for decades and it still amazes me. (chuckles) – I bet, thank you – Yeah, absolutely – So you know, Mark, this whole journey for me has started with like, buying a can of beer and taking apart the sticker on the label in this cashier-less store in China And that’s really the only use-case I’ve thought of Can you just give us some idea of like, what else do people do with this stuff?

– Sure, so within our technology there’s some industries that have adopted it more heavily Retail is one of the biggest ones – Okay – There’s challenges in knowing where their products are currently If you were just using a barcode you need line of sight, you need to match up But with RAIN RFID you no longer need line of sight you can get in the order of meters of read range So if you’re using a handheld scanner and you can sweep a wall and get it Another example would be for luggage tracking – Okay yeah, it looks like you’ve got like, I know what this looks like – The airline wants to make sure that they know when your luggage came in that it went to the right location – Awesome, so I guess you guys have some other demos as well – All right well we’ve got a product demonstration here that Gary will happily run you through – This is- – So what have we got here? – shipment verification- – Okay – is the use case So what I’m gonna do is I’m gonna wheel this box right so when we talk about shipment verification imagine this is a pallet right and we’ve got a shipment going onto a truck – Okay – And so I have a little line there on the floor – It’s what I’m standing on – Right, and so you’re the inside of the facility let’s say – Okay – So I’m coming off the truck here so this is the out And the idea is that I want to know two things I want to know what has crossed the line and I want to know when it’s crossed the line Right now I’m reading the box here nothing’s happening on the screen and I only want something to happen once we cross the line – Okay – So as we move across here we should see the screen update to tell me that these items have moved across – Okay – And that’s kind of the- – Oh wow – That’s kind of the challenge is that it seems really simple but again, I think you’ve seen – Yeah – We can read around 1,000 square feet so you get a lot of coverage We’re probably reading everything in here – Cool, and then you’ve got one more demo for us? – Yes – Is that right? – Max, you’ve got the last demo for us here – That’s right – And I hear you’re doing something cool with Raspberry Pi’s Is that right? – That’s right Yeah so this demo is built around one of our embedded reader modules – Okay – So it’s basically a RAIN RFID reader built into a little package – Okay – And you can add it to a device to add RAIN RFID functionality to that device – Okay – So we’ve gotten one of those RS1000 reader modules on the circuit board that’s in a Raspberry Pi hack form factor And what that means is I can just plug it into a Raspberry Pi and then I’ve got a reader right? I put that on the network I plug in power and I can read the tags nearby and send the tag reads wherever I want – Okay – So in this case, we’ve got two of these things in different locations – Yup – And they’re sending tag reads up to the cloud I’ve got a bunch of household items that are individually tagged and then I can ask my smart speaker which has a skill that goes to the cloud you know, where’s my stuff? – Okay – Alexa, ask Impinj where’s my wallet – [Alexa] Wallet is located near the table – [Scotty] Oh okay – So it’s over here in the second location – Nice – I can take it over to the first – Okay – This is the quote/unquote Island Alexa, ask Impinj, “Where’s my wallet?” – [Alexa] Wallet is located near the island – All right, nice So now I just need like, a ton of Raspberry Pi’s to put in my apartment – That’s right, and Raspberry Pi’s are cheap – Yeah, okay Yeah, this is pretty awesome, thank you Well cheers guys – Cheers! – This better be separate – Yeah, cheers – Thank you so much for having me and for the day and sharing all of your wisdom and sending me parts and code and knowledge And thank you for proving, helping me prove to Stuart that it is actually possible to build your own RFID tag (mellow electronic music) I thought I would come down here to beautiful Lake Union as the sun’s going down just to sort of wrap things up I guess the first thing I want to say is Stuart, I don’t quite understand why you thought this would be so hard to make your own RFID tag I mean, it’s particularly easy if you don’t really care how well it reads It really was more of a scavenger hunt than it was a like, a debugging and engineering process like some of my other projects have been I want to thank everybody that’s come along with me on this adventure and helped me along the way Thanks to Impinj for flying me out here to Seattle and putting me up And for sending me all sorts of gear and chips and advice, and giving me access to their labs and engineers, everyone that I talked to who worked at Impinj was just super awesome Thank you guys so much There’s a link to their website in the description below if you’d like to learn more Thank you to SueMay for donating the microscope If you guys would like to learn more about that microscope with the built in screen there’s a link to her AliExpress page in the description Also thanks to Stuart and Laurie and everyone at HOPE, Mitch and Patrick and Jeremy, and Joey, and who else am I forgetting? Robin, and Simon, and Connor, and Glitch and Mitch, and Lady Red and everyone else who came by and hacked RFID tags with me and played with the microscope and provided me advice and helped filming It was probably some of the most fun I’ve had at a conference, you all are amazing And lastly, thanks to all of you

for coming down this weird rabbit hole with me on this crazy adventure that started with taking apart a sticker on the side of a beer can at a weird cashier-less store in Yiwu, China that’s lead me literally halfway around the world If you’ve enjoyed this video and you want to come along with me on other weird technology adventures all over the world hit that subscribe button down below I’m Scotty from “Strange Parts” and until next time, stay tuned for more adventures I’ll see you again soon I forgot one more quick thing which is I wanted to say thank you to Evan who is a “Strange Parts” fan who helped me out yesterday filming in the Impinj offices Thank you Evan, you’re awesome And thanks for hooking me up with your mom who works at Impinj which is the big part of the reason that I got to come out here So thanks So I wanted to thank SueMay my microscope seller lady in Shenzhen She was nice enough to donate this microscope for me to bring to HOPE to do all this awesome hacking that we’ve done all weekend I had two promises that I made to her One was that I would tell all you guys about it and if you would like a microscope from her she’s super cool, she sells cool microscopes for reasonable prices There’s a link in the description below But also the second promise was that the microscope would go to a place where it would be well loved And Jeremy and Joey are part of a hacker space in Texas? Is that right? – San Antonio, Texas – Yeah, San Antonio, Texas – It’s called Ten Bit Works – Ten Bit Works – 10 Bit Works – And you guys are open to the public – Yeah – Anybody who wants to come – Anybody that wants to come We work on a sliding scale And we’ve had a lot of success bringing in people that would not normally go into a hacker space – That’s cool – And do all kinds of cool stuff – That’s awesome So I’m really happy for this to go to a good cause where a lot of people are gonna love it – Thank you very much – Thank you – Yeah, you’re welcome – We really appreciate it – You’re welcome Yeah, yeah, yeah, and thanks to SueMay for providing this – Thank you SueMay – Thank you! – She’s awesome (mellow electronic music)