Waterloo-based Terepac Corporation, a pioneer in the world’s tiniest digital electronics, has launched the TereTag which allows virtually any object to become part of the “Internet of Things”.
This tag, embedded unobtrusively in its host, gives it a wide range of capabilities to identify, communicate, and operate with more security and efficiency.
“We can take electronics to places where they have never been imagined before,” Terepac CEO Ric Asselstine told company investors and employees at a product launch in Waterloo. “These products will be lighter, smaller, and less expensive, and will have a smaller environmental footprint.”
The tiny device, implanted in a company logo on a hat and a drink coaster, was demonstrated at a meeting of Terepac investors and employees. Simply tapping the TereTag with a cell phone results in sharing logorelated messages for its owner via Twitter, Facebook and Google. The user can access details about the product and share information with friends through social networks.
“We’re consistently now being asked to create not only the tiny electronics for an object, but also to network it with other devices,” he added. “This involves creation of related applications which allow the object to become the app platform itself, to mine, manage and visualize data created by the objects. Finally, it establishes social media connectivity, making it a one-stop shop for giving voice to things.”
Terepac has a patent-protected process that allows the company to miniaturize circuits to an unprecedented degree.
The company is also producing apps, networking capability and data collection related to use of its electronics, Asselstine said. Dr. Stuart Hart, Samuel C. Johnson Chair in Sustainable Global Enterprise at Cornell University, described the extraordinary possibilities for TereTags in connection with a broad range of global issues.
“You think about the combination of low cost, miniaturization, lower power, with low energy use and that allows you to do things to connect people, including those who have been left out and underserved, plus give easy voice to the environment.”
“To be able to monitor water, soil moisture, wildlife populations, you can imagine all kinds of ways that this technology enables Terepac to give voice to things that previously were voiceless, and enable us to much more effectively and sustainably manage them.”
Joel Birnbaum, a former director of Hewlett-Packard’s research laboratory, described Terepac as a leader allowing a universe of inanimate objects to communicate. “It’s limited only by our imagination and I can’t think of a technology more suited for this than the Terepac technology. Its principal advantages are small size, low cost, and less power consumption.”
Joseph Fjelstad, president and founder of California-based Verdant Electronics, agreed. “We’re on the threshold of something brand new. These technologies which will deliver at cost points so low could clearly mark a turning point in the world of electronics.”