|To: Ahda who wrote (1661)||6/12/2016 3:26:46 PM|
|From: Glenn Petersen|
|Implanting chips into humans was a controversial subject when this board was started 12 plus years ago. Less so now. Biohacking has become quite the rage.|
Biohackers implant computers, earbuds and antennas in their bodies
By Jurica Dujmovic
Published: Feb 10, 2016 10:47 a.m. ET
They’re trying to improve human performance — to be smarter, more capable
Body implants are a staple of science fiction. They turn members of futuristic societies into super-humans, making them stronger, smarter and more capable than an average person.
Implants helped Johnny Mnemonic increase his memory capacity; they fuel Iron Man’s suit and keep him alive; and they do much, much more.
As amazing as body implants sound, though, how close are we normal humans to getting one of those? In other words, are contemporary science, medicine and technology advanced enough to allow us to seamlessly meld with the technology and actually improve our lives? Keep reading to find out.
We’ll start by introducing Northstar, a subdermal LED sensor that lights up when it’s in the vicinity of a magnet. It can be used to detect the magnetic north and act as a compass. Implanting such a basic device may sound like a silly and needlessly dangerous procedure to go through, but these biohackers did it anyway.
Ryan O’Shea/Grindhouse Wetware
Before dismissing it for being an “LED tattoo,” note that the device, dubbed Northstar V1, is still in its first iteration. The next version due to be released sometime this year will allow users to control the device via hand gestures. Grindhouse Wetware, the company behind the product, acknowledges that Northstar may seem like a simple gadget, but its purpose is to be much more than just subdermal bling — it exists to “prove the possibility of implanting technology in the human body, and will pave the way for more advanced and functional augmentations.”
If you think having LEDs in your forearm is silly, you may like this better: an antenna implanted in the skull. In 2004, Neil Harbisson had the device implanted in his cranium in an effort to fight color blindness. A camera at the far end of the device records whatever he is seeing and converts the image color data into a series of sound waves, which he has memorized. Instead of seeing various hues, he “hears” them with the help of a camera he calls Eyeborg.
Speaking of senses, here’s one implant that gave Rich Lee, a biohacker, one sense that humans usually don’t have: the power of echolocation.
Can you spot it? The implant is in his earlobe! To be more specific, within the tragus, the fleshy protrusion in front of the ear opening. On both of his ears are tiny magnets that Lee uses to listen to music without earbuds ( here’s how) and sense objects in his vicinity. He achieved echolocation by converting data from an ultrasonic range finder (a device used to determine how far away an object is) into audio, which he then sends wirelessly to his headphone implants.
If you had trouble seeing magnets in Lee’s ear, I reckon this one will be much easier to spot. That huge lump under this biohacker’s skin is actually a bulky biometric computer that’s capable of transmitting body temperature and pulse data wirelessly. While using a simple thermometer seems like a much better idea than having an electronic device inserted under your skin (without local anesthesia), the company behind it (yet another Grindhouse Wetware project) says that the device (Circadia) is merely in the early stages of development. Many more features are coming soon — hopefully a more compact size will be one of them.
John Rogers, University of Illinois
If these implants seem too much, here’s something a bit lighter — and in my opinion, much closer to mass adoption: flexible, wireless tattoos that can be used to track vital body stats. Data about sweat (which can be used to assess the metabolic health of the wearer), heart rate and more are captured by the tattoo and then sent wirelessly to a device, such as a mobile phone or a computer. Although these tattoos aren’t exactly implants (they are non-invasive and can be easily removed), they still prove that the integration between the human body and technology isn’t something that’s easily dismissed.
If you’re like me, many of these implants will make you cringe. They seem crude, basic and impractical. Biohackers may seem like people who don’t care much about their health or safety. Experiments they’re currently conducting seem to show just undeveloped biohacking is and how little it can do for us — for the time being.
However, there’s a different side to this story. If history has taught us anything, it’s that even the greatest inventions had humble beginnings. Seeing the recordings of the first planes trying to take off invokes exactly the same thoughts about the pioneers of flight. Were they brave or foolish? Were their machines laughable or simply in “early development”? If it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t have planes today.
Does the same apply to biohacking? Only time will tell. Until then, we’ll keep a close eye on the biohacking community and perhaps one day become a part of it. What do you think about these implants and biohacking in general? Please let me know in the comments below.
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|To: Glenn Petersen who wrote (1663)||6/12/2016 4:48:00 PM|
|In the field of neuro science some day the benefits I hope will be enormous. The brain controls the body and the key is to aid control of the brain. Fabulous to think of the body ridding itself of parts that are not working properly or creating new parts minus the surgical procedure.|
In the field of entertainment I can visualize a series of wires intertwined with tattoos the bearer of said walks into a toy shop lights up totally and walks out with every magnetic toy in the store attached to him.
Of course if the antennae pop up like rabbit ears the mall would empty out pretty quick,
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|From: Glenn Petersen||7/23/2016 10:57:21 AM|
|RFID tag maker Impinj prices IPO at $14, shares soar in rare public offering|
by John Cook
on July 21, 2016 at 9:39 am
Impinj’s Monza chip
Wall Street likes what they see in Impinj, a 16-year-old Seattle-based maker of Radio Frequency Identification technology that today went public on Nasdaq at $14 per share. That was the upper end of the range for the company, which makes RFID chips that allow retailers to track inventory or manufacturers to track parts.
It marks the first initial public offering for a Seattle-based technology company this year. Impinj sold 4.8 million shares, raising $67.2 million. It also granted underwriters the option to buy 720,000 shares at the offering price.
Impinj, which is trading under the ticker PI, is doing well in its debut. The stock shot up more than 20 percent, and it is now trading around $17.17.
The company, which expects to post a net loss this year, is backed by ARCH Venture Partners, Intel Capital, Polaris Partners, Madrona Venture Group and GF Private Equity. But revenues are on the rise. It is led by founder Chris Diorio, an affiliate professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Washington.
The company posted revenue of $78.5 million last year, up from $63.8 million in 2014. It first turned a profit in 2013, and showed net income of $900,000 in 2015. Even so, it has accumulated a deficit of $187.6 million over the years.
More on Impinj and its financials in this SEC filing, where it offers this explanation of its business:
Our platform connects billions of everyday items such as apparel, medical supplies, automobile parts, drivers licenses, food and luggage to applications such as inventory management, patient safety, asset tracking and item authentication, delivering real-time information to businesses about items they create, manage, transport and sell. We believe connecting everyday items and delivering real-time information about them is the essence of the Internet-of-Things, or IoT.
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|From: Glenn Petersen||9/20/2016 9:14:04 AM|
|When Information Storage Gets Under Your Skin|
Tiny implants can replace keys, store business cards and medical data—and eventually a lot more
By Nina Adam and William Wilkes
The Wall Street Journal
Sept. 18, 2016 10:11 p.m. ET
Patrick Paumen doesn’t have to worry about forgetting his keys and being locked out of his apartment. That is because he doesn’t need a key anymore—he simply unlocks the door with a wave of his hand.
The 32-year-old IT expert from the Dutch city of Heerlen is one of a growing number of people with electronic implants under their skin, mostly to use as keys or for identification.
Mr. Paumen has several such implants, or tags, embedded in the fatty tissue of his hands and his lower arm. He uses separate tags to unlock not only his apartment door, but also his office and the gate to a secure parking lot at work. Another stores information he would otherwise put on a business card—name and contact details—and yet another holds similar information for nonbusiness encounters.
The implants can be activated and scanned by readers that use radio frequency identification technology, or RFID. Those include ordinary smartphones and readers already installed in office buildings to allow entrance with a common ID card.
Mr. Paumen says the tiny devices simplify his life. When nearing the secure office parking lot, he says, “I just roll down the window, stick my arm out and let the reader at the gates scan the implant, which is just below my little finger. I don’t have to worry about losing my access card.”
Done in secondsThere is no comprehensive data on how many people have RFID implants in their bodies, but retailers estimate the total is 30,000 to 50,000 people globally.
The fact that the tags can’t be lost is one attraction. Another, users say, is that the tags don’t operate under their own power but rather are activated when they’re read by a scanner. That means they can never be rendered useless by a dead battery like smartphones.
It only takes a few seconds to inject the small glass cylinder containing a tag, the size of a grain of rice, under the skin. It can be done by anyone, but proponents say it is best done by a trained person with sterilized equipment to lower the risk of infection.
Once a tag is implanted, there can be an adjustment period: “They can move a little bit depending on skin type and activities,” says Quentin Inglis, owner of the Kalima Emporium, a tattoo and piercing studio in Worthing, England, who has implanted tags for several customers. Mr. Inglis keeps his business card on an implanted tag. “I do a lot of climbing, so mine moved around a bit until it found a position it was happiest with,” he says.
Medical potentialImplanted tags have a demonstrated potential for use in travel. Andreas Sjöström, the head of digital solutions at Sogeti, a technology consulting unit of Capgemini Group, used an implanted tag loaded with information identifying him as a Scandinavian Airlines customer to board an SAS flight from Stockholm to Paris for the first time in December, and has since used the tag several times for SAS flights. The tag contains the same information some SAS passengers normally have on a sticker used for the same purpose, and is read by the same scanner the airline uses for those stickers.
Electronic RFID tags that go under the skin are being used to store personal information and give users access to secure areas. Photo: Henrik Andree/Telefónica BASECAMP/Digiwell.com
Some people list emergency contacts on an implanted tag. And others see potential for the use of the tags in medicine, though one big challenge needs to be addressed for those visions to become reality: Medical personnel or anyone else trying to help someone in a medical or emergency situation will need to have some way to know that the person they’re trying to help has potentially lifesaving information available under his or her skin.
For instance, Kevin Warwick, deputy vice chancellor at Coventry University in England and an expert in cybernetics, says that people who suffer from epilepsy often wear pendants that identify them as having epilepsy and sometimes provide emergency contacts and some basic information on how to help a person having a seizure. But the pendant can be lost or forgotten—a tag cannot. Paramedics and other first responders could be trained to check for tags, he says, and perhaps people with epilepsy could have a small tattoo or some other marker to help other people find the tag.
Another idea for medical use: “In hospitals, you could have a small thing implanted to make sure this is the right patient or person for this operation, to reduce the number of errors there are in medical operations,” Dr. Warwick says.
The tags also can be used to access medical records. Information stored on a tag can easily be updated with the tag remaining in place.
Advocates also hope it won’t be long before the implants will allow them to make payments in cafes or shops, the way smart cards are used. Mr. Sjöström says the technology is capable of enabling such transactions, if software standards are developed to allow them. Data security is also an issue here, he says, as the current generation of implants isn’t capable of the same level of encryption as existing electronic payment systems.
Ethical issuesSkeptics point to ethical concerns that will have to be addressed before tag implants become more common. While there may be no issue with implanting a tag under the skin of consenting adults, things could become tricky if a person doesn’t want it or isn't in control of the tag’s content.
For instance, the use of a tag “is ethically straightforward and even useful” for people who can’t grip a key because of extreme arthritis or the loss of a hand, says Arianne Shahvisi, a lecturer in ethics at the Brighton and Sussex Medical School in the U.K. But while tags also could be used by people with dementia to carry identifying information and to ensure that they would never lose their keys, it would be “troubling” in such cases because the patient may not be able to give proper consent to the procedure.
Privacy concerns will also have to be addressed before tag implants can reach their full potential. Although people promoting them say the implants currently on sale can only be picked up by readers in very close range, some people worry that strangers could still tap their personal information without their knowledge or consent.
And while many adults are repelled by the idea of manipulating a perfectly healthy body, young people may accept it as they do most technology surrounding them. Take Patrick and Birthe Kramer, a couple in Hamburg, Germany, who have implants that unlock the door to their home. Their 2-year-old son, whose body remains chip free, already imitates his parents by trying to open the front door with a swish of his hand.
Ms. Adam and Mr. Wilkes are Wall Street Journal reporters in Frankfurt. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
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|From: Glenn Petersen||3/25/2017 9:11:59 AM|
|Impinj the ‘Best Way to Play’ the ‘Tipping Point’ in RFID, says Morgan Stanley |
By Tiernan Ray
February 23, 2017, 11:45 A.M. ET
Shares of Internet of Things technology maker Impinj ( PI) are up $1.45, or 5%, at $29.94, after Morgan Stanley’s Craig Hettenbach and Joseph Moore today offer up a team effort, initiating the stock at Overweight, with a $40 price target, writing that it is the “best way to play” what they see as a “tipping point,” in so-called “radio-frequency ID,” or RFID, technology.
“We see the company leveraging its technology leadership (200+ patents) and strong market position (60% share), capitalizing on a $10bn+ opportunity in RFID and connectivity,” write the duo.
RFID, the authors write, is “reaching a tipping point,” and Impinj is the company that has all the parts to capitalize on that:
We see accelerating RFID adoption, as evidenced by a strong uptick in end point IC shipment growth for Impinj to 71% in 2016, up from 21%/52% in 2014/15 (Exhibit 1). The company’s initial focus markets of Retail and Healthcare offer a substantial ~$10bn opportunity by 2020, while newer verticals such as Data Center, Travel, and Automotive should propel growth further. Importantly, with less than 10% penetration in retail and 1% overall, there is still significant runway for growth in RFID technology in the coming years. The company is the only supplier with all 3 elements of the RFID solution (End point ICs, Reader ICs/Readers and software). As a founding member of the Radio Frequency Identification Alliance (RAIN), we also think Impinj is in a strong position to optimize its technology solutions. The company has over 60% market share in end point and reader ICs, while competitors such as Zebra and Alien buy its ICs. In addition, we see merits to its platform sales approach allowing the company to sell higher margin connectivity and software solutions and expand upon its already entrenched position in end point ICs.
They like the growth outlook:
We model a 3-year revenue CAGR of 26%, which could prove conservative relative to recent growth of 43%. In addition, we see favorable GM trends, estimating 310 bps of expansion to 57.1% through 2019. We view the next 1-2 years as a time for the company to reinvest in the business and drive outsized growth, followed by a period of substantial operating leverage in 2019/20. Our PT of $40 is based on a EV/S multiple of 4.2X. This is above the current multiple of 3.6X, but essentially in line with other high growth small cap stocks, despite Impinj’s faster growth and greater operating leverage.
Mind the looming lockup expiration on insider shares, though:
On March 2, 2017, an additional 1.34mn shares (6.5% of Impinj’s outstanding stock) will be eligible for sale in the public market. The company has no other lock ups after that. We recommend using any volatility around this lock up to add to positions. Impinj has traded off 19% since earnings last week vs. the SOX index up 2%, which we view as an attractive entry point ahead of the upward revisions we anticipate for 2017 revenue and EPS.
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|From: Glenn Petersen||4/24/2017 10:57:24 AM|
| How 7-Eleven Will Beat Worker Blues |
By Andy Mukherjee
April 23, 2017 4:00 PM EDT
A 7-Eleven store in Japan can no longer afford its most prized possession: the checkout clerk.
The nation's employee shortage is now too acute to waste pricey labor on routine tasks -- like scanning low-value merchandise -- that have proven frustratingly expensive to automate.
But now an old technology is coming to the rescue. 7-Eleven owner Seven & i Holdings Co. is joining forces with rival operators Lawson, Ministop, FamilyMart UNY Holdings and East Japan Railway to introduce radio-frequency identification, or RFID, by next year. That should preclude the need for manual bar-code scanning, Nikkei reported last week, adding that by 2025 all Japanese convenience stores would have fully automated checkouts.
RFID tags are already widely used by retailers in anti-shoplifting devices. Turning them into price tags would enable customers to walk out of stores without having to scan items at checkout counters. Exit gates would open when mobile or card payments have been received.
At 7-Eleven alone, the switch could translate into 50 billion yen ($460 million) in demand for RFID tags, Pelham Smithers Associates wrote in a research note on the Smartkarma website.
New scanner orders for hardware makers like Toshiba TEC Corp., Panasonic Corp. and Fujitsu Ltd. may be a blip on earnings reports; a bigger winner would probably be Sato Holdings Corp., a maker of labels and tags, especially if supermarkets and drugstores follow suit, according to Pelham Smithers researchers. The company's shares have risen almost 10 percent on news of RFID adoption.
What's likely to matter much more to investors, however, is the extent to which Japanese retailers can embrace automation to boost margins. Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Thomas Jastrzab expects operating profit growth at Seven & i to outpace sales gains over the next two to three years, aided by fewer money-losing stores and demand for its higher-margin private-label offerings.
Lawson, meanwhile, is expecting its first decline in annual profit in 15 years, partly because of investment in labor-saving technologies as well as in a newer product mix to appeal to an aging population.
While convenience stores should still come out OK, it's the large-format retailers in Japan that are particularly in need of a miracle cure for weak profitability. As my Gadfly colleague David Fickling noted recently, margins in the core business of supermarket and mall giant Aeon Co. are now so abysmal that it garners the bulk of earnings from financial services and mall development, which account for less than 10 percent of revenue.
Although fashion retailers like Zara use RFID extensively to manage inventory, investing in a 10 yen tag to sell stuff priced 200 yen or lower at a 7-Eleven is a far more challenging proposition. To help consumers warm to the technology, Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry might offer subsidies, the Nikkei article said.
The government's involvement is understandable. With the unemployment rate at 2.8 percent, and more than two job openings in Tokyo for every applicant, the country needs to extract the most out of a scarce resource.
Commerce will never entirely move online. But needing a checkout clerk to sell a soda at 7-Eleven is just too expensive a luxury -- both for Japanese society and for shareholders of Seven & i.
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.
To contact the author of this story:
Andy Mukherjee in Singapore at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Matthew Brooker at email@example.com
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|From: Glenn Petersen||4/28/2017 4:20:07 PM|
|How Fast is Retail Adopting RFID?|
By Dean Frew, CTO and SVP, RFID Solutions, SML RFID — April 28, 2017
If recent news and information about the apparel business and omnichannel retailing are any indication, universal RFID adoption is an industry fait accompli.
Except when it isn’t. Not yet, anyway.
Statistics from retail reporters, industry groups and retailers themselves share RFID usage numbers ranging from 50 percent to 96 percent. In actuality, these numbers are inaccurate, exceedingly optimistic, and obscure the actual realistic pace of RFID adoption, which is far slower and more methodical.
While the aim among retailers to integrate RFID technology into their operations rates is near 100 percent, actual deployment of full RFID systems still hovers in the single digits.
Fully deployed RFID systems — including tags, readers and the supporting software and where retailers are experiencing measurable results and ROI — presently range from only 4 percent to 8 percent.
Why such inaccurate estimates? It comes down to the word “intent.” So many retailers have it in mind to test and install RFID technology. But reality is firmly planted in the present and that goal is significantly different than permanent deployment numbers to date.
And that is where the current statistical confusion of RFID adoption stems from: those actually using the technology versus those who plan to, or are in the preliminary planning stages. For instance, if a large company has a pilot in a single store, that indicates its interest in RFID, but the sheer volume of tagged items is still low.
Beginning to walk
We’re still in the earliest steps of a long race toward mass adoption of RFID systems in retail. Actual apparel market penetration is conservative and considerably less than some reports. GS1, for example, estimates the adoption percentage at more than half, whereas the RFID Lab at Auburn University Retail Study, the retail RFID performance and testing group, puts the installed base closer to four percent.
How did SML come by its dramatically smaller use numbers?
Dissecting the industry
A year and a half ago, we started conducting a deep analysis of the industry to help companies identify where they should focus marketing strategies, as well as planning the geographic location of service bureaus intended to provide encoded tags and what solutions and business requirements were emerging across different segments.
While dissecting public information and mentions of units sold among apparel and footwear retailers (with at least 40 stores located in the U.S. and Europe), we noticed that while tag growth was rising steadily, the number of stores using RFID was still relatively small. That got us curious.
We then examined RFID tag volumes sold by us and other global tag suppliers, which tallied out in 2016 at only a small fraction of the total market of 35 billion to 37 billion tags. Looking at the approximately 200,000 stores in the apparel and footwear market in the U.S. and Europe that will adopt RFID over time, we arrived at the 8 percent penetration rate.
So what does this mean for the industry? Looking ahead, growth is almost assured. SML’s own RFID technology sales have surged 50 percent every year for the past four years, and 2017 is projected to be no different.
Much of that growth results from the pressure of online sales that is prompting retailers to offer omnichannel purchasing for customers who can buy a product from the nearest store, buy online, or purchase online and pick up the product at the nearest store. This omnichannel model requires a highly accurate inventory count in each store.
But there are other factors that have contributed to RFID’s slower than expected acceptance.
First-generation RFID deployment was rocky. Early adopters were in some cases surprised at the cost of the installation when compared against the early benefits. Technology adoption was also hampered in some cases by an inability for companies to align behind its deployment and integration with enterprise data.
Now, system set-up and integration is easier. We’re seeing a shift from where the RFID technology industry as a whole was making RFID too complicated for retailers. Customers want the tech to work, and to use proven technology and solutions. The emphasis is offering solutions that best fit the retailer’s operations, and make pilots and full installations more palatable for the end users and generate proven ROI.
Second, the bigger obstacles revolve around change and how badly a retailer’s leadership believe it needs to.
The “if it’s not broken, why fix it?” attitude stems from comfort and familiarity. We still manage inventory like we have for the past 30 years with SKU (barcodes) vs. Item-Level (RFID) inventory management. The use of RFID technology in retail has demonstrated improvements in inventory accuracy of more than 30 percent (from high sixties to more than 98 percent). It has been proven that, in addition to out of stock and inventory reduction, effective omnichannel can only be executed with this higher level of inventory accuracy.
After a number of deployments, you can get a sense for when a customer’s RFID adoption is going to be successful based on the engagement process with the customer’s steering team. This includes managers of all departments, with the leadership acknowledging unanimously that inventory accuracy has room for improvement.
Just where the RFID investment fits on the company’s priorities list is another issue that can make or break an installation. Apparel and footwear growth is taking place most among brands with their own outlets, and among chains of vertically integrated specialty stores. Department stores, which carry merchandise from a wide variety of brands, are seeing less immediate benefit from RFID deployments.
Yet despite industry tumult, and perhaps because of it, broader acceptance is inevitable. Over the next five years about one third of apparel and footwear retailers will adopt RFID technology because power is now in the hands of consumers. They have a myriad of options in product, cost and delivery. Retailers will have to vault over this ever-rising high bar of shopper expectations to keep and expand their customer bases. It’s up to them on how quickly they want — and need — to change.
Dean Frew is CTO and SVP RFID Solutions for SML Group. He served on executive teams for several supply chain software and RFID solution companies and founded Xterprise in 2002 that was purchased by SML in 2013. He earned a bachelor's of science degree in mechanical engineering from New Mexico State University, and a master's of science degree in industrial systems from Virginia Tech. He also holds multiple patents in electronic packaging and RFID systems, plus pending patents for RFID and inventory and asset systems.
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|From: Glenn Petersen||5/6/2017 10:43:03 PM|
|Another good quarter for Impinj:|
RFID maker Impinj tops earnings expectations for 4th quarter in a row
by Nat Levy
on May 4, 2017 at 2:58 pm May 6, 2017 at 1:02 pm
Impinj’s Monza chip.
This story has been updated to include more details on stock price.
Impinj has exceeded Wall Street expectations in each of its four quarters as a public company, after posting another strong quarter to start 2017.
The Seattle-based maker of radio frequency identification tags posted non-GAAP earnings of one cent per share on $31.7 million in revenue, an increase of 47 percent over this time last year.
Analysts surveyed in advance by Yahoo Finance expected Impinj to post losses of a penny per share on $30.7 in revenue.
Impinj CEO Chris Diorio
“We delivered a solid first quarter, with revenue growing 47% over last year driven by the team’s strong execution and continued market adoption of our platform,” said Chris Diorio, Impinj co-founder and CEO. “We are pleased with the steady progress toward our vision of digital life for everyday items, and we will continue investing in this massive market opportunity to further enhance our leading market position.”
Impinj stock dropped in after-hours trading following the earnings report, but rallied and hit an all time high point of close to $44 per share Friday afternoon.
After raising $69.2 million in its IPO in July, Impinj raised another $39 million in a follow-on public offering this past December, which sent shares up 25 percent.
Impinj was an early player in RFID technology, which uses radio frequencies to track tagged items. The RFID market took longer than the company expected to come to fruition, but the company has been able to capitalize on growing use of the technology in recent years. Its RFID tags and technologies are now used across industries such as healthcare, retail and manufacturing, with Boeing using it to tag parts in aircraft assembly and Macy’s using it to track inventories at retail stores.
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