Lab Track: RFID Tracking System for Laboratories
What is Lab Track?
Lab Track is designed to track anything that needs to be tracked and is taggable in a medical laboratory setting. It uses RFID or barcode for tracking primarily within laboratory facilities, and GPS for tracking during transportation. It supports RFID, barcode, or GPS, and any of their combinations.
The Lab Track System can be easily configured to track one or multiple categories of lab items. The standard offering includes 4 categories:
- Specimen Track
- Lab Asset Track
- Lab People Track
- Lab Access Control
The Lab Track Software is offered in the following 3 versions:
- On a local server
- On a customer's cloud
- On GAO's cloud
Track Every Aspect of your Laboratory Environment
Learn More about Lab Track
Tracking and security are an essential part of any laboratory setting. Labs deal with large volumes of specimens such as blood, tissues, urine samples, etc. on a daily basis. Personnel are required to work with a lot of very expensive lab equipment, which need to be located promptly when needed and each has its own maintenance schedules that need to be upheld. Additionally, labs need to track and provide access rights to staff, contractors and even customers. All of this generates a lot of time consuming and labor-intensive work. With tight deadlines to deliver results, productivity and accountability becomes the key to success. As such, ill equipped labs find it difficult to reduce costs without significantly reducing the quality of the service that they provide.
Lab Track addresses all of these issues through automated tracking and control. The result is tremendous cost savings and a reduction of man-hours of redundant work. With the automation of tracking specimen, equipment, staff and security, Lab Track turns a laboratory into a state-of-the-art facility.
Lab Track is scalable to meet the specific requirements of different type of laboratories and functions can be added or removed according to your requirements
Lab Track System's standard offering includes all four tracking functions: Specimen Track, Lab Asset Track, Lab People Track, Lab Access Control. Functions can easily removed or additional can be easily added when necessary.
The Lab Track System can be deployed though any one of the following hardware settings:
- RFID only,
- Barcode only,
- GPS only,
- RFID + Barcode,
- RFID + GPS,
- Barcode + GPS, or
- RFID + Barcode + GPS
Lab Track makes use of the RFID technology, which has advantages over conventional barcodes in a diagnostic laboratory including:
- Does not require direct Line of sight to operate
- Can read at a much greater distance than barcode
- Can be designed to read multiple tags at high speed in one scan in most cases
- Has the ability to store relevant data on a tag
- Contains high levels of security; data can be encrypted, password protected or set to include a ‘kill’ feature to remove data permanently
- Tags are available in various shapes, sizes, and materials that can be durable and made to withstand extreme temperature, dust, liquids and other harsh environment conditions. Thus, they can be very robust and some tags may effectively withstand corrosive chemicals in medical lab environment. These tags can perform more reliably than bar codes.
- Varying read and track distances
- Much more labor efficient; once set up, an RFID system can be run with minimal human participation.
- Easy to incorporate sensing functionality, which is particularly useful, for example, in monitoring temperature sensitive specimens during storage or transport.
Lab Track Software is powered by GAO Track Engine. It consists of:
- Drivers which run on an RFID reader, barcode reader, or the controlling computer.
- Middleware which runs on a local server or the cloud
- Database which runs on a local server, a customer's own cloud or GAO's cloud
- Enterprise applications which run on a local server, a customer's own cloud or GAO's cloud.
The hardware required to set up a Tack system consists of RFID readers and tags, with GPS and barcode as options.
Radio frequency identification (RFID) technology uses electromagnetic fields in the radio frequency range to wirelessly capture and read the data store in a tag for identifying and tracking purposes.
Since RFID waves do not need line of sight to operate and come in varying read/tracking ranges, RFID technology is far superior and more practical compared to barcodes. RFID tags are used to tag objects and come with their own unique serial number. A computerized system allows for quick and easy tracking of these objects.
Tag frequencies and general associated features:
RFID tags are available in the following frequencies:
- Low Frequency [LF] - Short Reading Distance (SRD)
- Available in 125/134 kHz frequencies
- Read only or read write formats
- Suitable for use in situations where a short read range is important.
- These frequencies are not very sensitive to interference.
- Excellent for use in environment with metals and water.
- High frequency [HF] - Short Reading Distance (SRD)
- In 56 MHz frequencies
- Read and Write: A tag can be both read and written
- Suitable for applications with read range of 2-10 cm.
- Multiple tags can be read at once.
- ISO 14443 (type A and type B): Enhanced cryptography and short read ranges makes it these tags well suited for access control and other applications where security is an important issue.
- ISO 15693 (ISO 18000-3 Mode 1): These tags usually combine low manufacturing costs with good memory capacity, good functioning with metals and liquids, medium read distances (from 1 cm to about 1 meter
- ISO 18000-3 Mode 2: Excellent for applications requiring fast data transfer rate, close range identification and in metal and liquid environment
- Internationally standardized to 13.56MHz in 1947 for Industrial, Scientific, and Medical use.
- Ultra-high frequency [UHF]- Medium Reading Distance (MRD)
- UHF tags come in the following ranges: 865-868 MHz (ETSI), 902-928 MHz(FCC) and 950-956 MHz (JPN) .
- UHF tags can be read from a distance of up to about 10 meters.
- Read and Write: A tag can be both read and written
- Performance reduced when a tag is affixed to a metal. However, this can be rectified by using Mount-on-Metal UHF tags.
- Standard: ISO 18000-6C,best known as EPC Class 1 Gen 2 tags have four memory banks: reserved, EPC, TID and user memory. The EPC bank, typically 96 bit in size, is the one that mainly characterizes EPC Gen 2 tags. It allows to univocally identify an enormous number of objects and controls anti-collision and wake-up functions.
- Active - Long Reading Distance (LRD):
- Most commonly used frequencies: 2.45 GHz and 433 MHz.
- Active tags are battery operated.
- Suited for long range tracking, typically between 100-200 feet (about 30 meters to 60 meters).
- Read only for 2.45 GHz, read and write format for 433 MHz
- Continuously transmit their ID once every 1-30 seconds.
- No universal standards exist for active 2.45 GHz RFID at the moment and these tags usually work on proprietary protocols, depending on the company that makes them.
- ISO-18000-7 is the most common standard for 433 MHz active RFID. However, not all 433MHz active readers and tags are designed under this standard.
RFID Readers come in two types:
- Mobile, typically a handheld
GAO's RFID readers are feature rich and come with a wide variety of options:
- Short, medium, and long reading distance Readers
- Adjustable antenna gain readers
- Wi-Fi, Ethernet, RS232, multi serial port interfaces available.
- Bluetooth and NFC interface readers.
- Readers with 1D, 2D barcode compatibility.
- Add-on GPS modules.
- Excellent UI interface for handheld readers.
- Robust device for dynamic application environment deployment.
GAO's RFIDtags come in various types and form factors depending on end user needs, for example, RFID polymer cards, paper tags, sticker tags, mount-on-metal tags, ultra-thin metal tags, high temperature tags, RTI Tags, wristband tags, etc., in various shapes and sizes.
Track Engine supports the conventional barcode technology, which includes 1D or 2D bar codes, as a way to accommodate coexistence of both RFID and barcode in the system. .
Track Engine supports GPS, allowing for real-time tracking both regionally and worldwide.
Combining one or more of the Lab Track functions will yield very useful advanced features. Examples of Access Control being used with other functions to offer advanced features include:
- In the case of Specimen Track, it is possible to identify the staff accountable for the samples, at points of interest such as collecting, shipping, and analyzing.
- In the case of People Track, personnel movement can be more accurately monitored.
- In the case of Asset Track, it is possible to provide better monitoring of access to and operations of
Lab Track is also designed to work with other auxiliary technologies such as vibration sensors, infrared, and to provide alarms.
Track Engine is composed of software and hardware.
GAO Track Engine software is highly modular, and is based on the Auto-ID engine with the basic architecture outlined in the figure below:
GAO Auto-ID Engine serves as the backbone of auto-id systems and is composed of the following functions commonly used in auto-id applications:
- RFID/Barcode Interface
- Business Module Interface
- Data Synchronization Interface
- Web Interface
- ERP Module
- Report Engine
- Handheld Reader Component
- Embedded Component
The device drivers typically run on an RFID or barcode reader. The middleware typically runs on a local server. The database and enterprise applications typically run on a local server, a customer's own cloud or GAO's cloud.
We have the technology to support you. We can help tailor a Lab Track system around your healthcare client's needs including custom reports and software solutions combined with all the right hardware to help track the most important assets in the healthcare environment.
Our experts are here to help you with all questions, needs and support.