Press Release, May 2008


Contact: Keith Braman, Associate Director for ITXC’s Office of Applied Technology
University of Kansas Information and Telecommunication Technology Center (iTTC)
785-864-7697 –

The University of Kansas and Starport Technologies Announce RFID Partnership Licensing arrangement will lead to the manufacturer of best-of-breed radio frequency identification tags for use with metal and liquid-filled items.

April 23, 2007: Lawrence, Kansas: The Information & Telecommunication Technology Center (ITTC) at the University of Kansas (KU) announced today that it has signed an agreement with Kansas City-based Starport Technologies, LLC, that grants Starport the right to manufacture and market radio frequency identification tags utilizing patent-pending RFID tag technology developed at the University.

Jim Roberts, KU’s vice provost for research, noted that “KU has a mission to move innovations stemming from our research into the marketplace. This license to Starport Technologies, LLC, stems from Dan Devours’ RFID research and is a tremendous example of the process. KU is pleased to partner with CEO Jeff Nedblake and Starport.”

RFID identifies tagged items through radio communication between electronic readers and tags that contain data on microchips. RFID tags have advantages over bar codes in that they provide a large, unique identifier, they do not require line-of-sight to be read, and multiple tags can be scanned simultaneously. RFID tags that use the UHF frequencies and EPC’s new “Gen 2” standard can also be read from more than 25 feet away. These capabilities and relatively low cost have spurred the wide adoption of RFID in supply chain management. Typically, however, when RFID tags are placed on or near metal or liquids, performance degrades to the point where tags are no longer usable. Metals and water interfere with the operation of the RFID tag antenna.

The KU-Tag was designed to solve that problem. Researchers at KU’s ITTC developed an innovative antenna and system that use readily available components and processes. The KU-Tag system contains four U.S. patent-pending technologies that make it one of the best-performing, thinnest, least costly RFID tags specifically designed to work near metal or liquids.

The KU-Tag is at its best when it’s on metal. “Some of our tags work better on metal than most other tags do in air,” said Dan Deavours, an ITTC research assistant professor and principal inventor of the KU-Tag. “We found that the few tags that had been designed for metal were big, bulky, and didn’t work well.” The KU-Tag has reported read ranges in excess of 30 feet, yet it is only a little thicker than a coin.

“The KU-Tag is another important tool in our expanding range of RFID solutions,” said Jeff Nedblake, managing partner of Starport Technologies. “ITTC researchers found an innovative solution to address the metal/liquid problem, which is a common problem we keep hearing from customers. This technology will give our customers a variety of terrific new tools to manage their assets.”

Starport will introduce two new RFID tags that leverage the KU technology and that will be particularly well suited for asset tracking applications where metal or liquids are involved. Commercial production quantities of the two products are expected to ship in June of 2007, and production samples of the products will be available for inspection at RFID Journal Live! in Orlando (booth #604) from April 30 through May 2.

About ITTC

A state-of-the-art KU research facility, ITTC is a Kansas Technology Enterprise Corporation (KTEC) Center of Excellence and supports multidisciplinary information technology research. ITTC conducts research and development in information systems, telecommunications, bioinformatics, and radar systems.

About Starport Technologies, LLC

Starport Technologies is a recent spin-off from Package Service Company and Harland Machine Systems. Starport Technologies leverages the science and technology of leading research institutions to provide customers with the most advanced technological solutions, including radio frequency identification tags and labels for a wide range of applications and bacteria-sensing labels for use in food supply chains. The new company benefits from more than 40 years of experience in label converting, label application systems, and in-line decoration technology development. Press and commercial inquiries can be made directly to the Company to the attention of Jeff Nedblake, managing partner, at jnedblake at or by telephone at (816) 584-3810.

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