Developments to Watch
THESE STICK-ON CHIPS MAY MAKE ASSEMBLY LINES MORE EFFICIENT
Those popular Post-It Notes from 3M Co. now have an electronic equivalent. Dallas Semiconductor Corp. has developed a chip with an adhesive underside. These Touch Memory chips can be slapped on almost anything, such as products moving through a factory. Reading or updating the chips' data requires only momentary contact with a simple metal probe linked to a personal computer or a factory controller.
The company expects the product's main application to be tracking products on production lines. Unlike bar codes and printed tags, which can't be changed, the chips can be instantly updated after each operation. They can also report their status and location to a central computer. Currently, the largest Touch Memory chip holds 4,000 bits (500 characters) and costs $3.38.EDITED BY WILLIAM D. MARBACH