SmartTags: IoT Product Passport for Circular Economy Based on Printed Sensors and Unique Item-Level Identifiers

Sensors (Basel). 2019 Jan 30;19(3):586. doi: 10.3390/s19030586.


In this paper, we present a method that facilitates Internet of Things (IoT) for building a product passport and data exchange enabling the next stage of the circular economy. SmartTags based on printed sensors (i.e., using functional ink) and a modified GS1 barcode standard enable unique identification of objects on a per item-level (including Fast-Moving Consumer Goods-FMCG), collecting, sensing, and reading of parameters from environment as well as tracking a products' lifecycle. The developed ontology is the first effort to define a semantic model for dynamic sensors, including datamatrix and QR codes. The evaluation of decoding and readability of identifiers (QR codes) showed good performance for detection of sensor state printed over and outside the QR code data matrix, i.e., the recognition ability with image vision algorithm was possible. The evaluation of the decoding performance of the QR code data matrix printed with sensors was also efficient, i.e., the QR code ability to be decoded with the reader after reversible and irreversible process of ink (dis)appearing was preserved, with slight drop in performance if ink density is low.

Keywords: GS1; IoT; barcode; circular economy; functional ink; ontology; printed sensors; product passport.