xEM affected by temperature changes?

When I arrived at work this morning, the xEM in my foot wouldn’t read for a good 5 minutes. I was almost ready to call it dead when it started to ring again. I was out 2/3 minutes in the snow, so my feet were pretty cold.

That particular chip keeps getting chilled when I’m out, then super-hot when I warm my feet in front of the space heater inside (or when it’s summertime and the asphalt is hot), then cold, then hot all the time. Is it bad? I wouldn’t think so, but I can’t think of another reason why it would suddenly fail to ring, then start working again as it warmed up. Or maybe coincidence…

Incidentally, it hasn’t happened since.

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I wounder if its possible with the cold that the body contracting would push it deeper. :thinking:

Come to think of it your using a reader from the base of the feet right so that would actually be closer :sweat_smile:

I got nothing.

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Do you have another xEM or even NExT in your hand you can enroll into your foot reader then try replicating with exposure to the snow?

If your fingers start to look like this, It’s probably time to remove them from the snow.


I’m pretty sure that the tuning will change with expansion / contraction of the ferrite rod and copper antenna coil. The difference in thermal coefficient of expansion between the materials doesn’t seem to be too much of an issue as I’ve tossed xNTs into liquid nitrogen and pulled them out and read them almost immediately, but

  1. it’s possible the NFC transponders can put up with a lot more tuning variance … at least I’ve seen that they can in practice, but I’ve never tested 125khz stuff in the same way.

  2. your reader might be more sensitive to out-of-tune transponders since it’s “high power” and usually high power stuff has a really hard time with S:N ratios anyway.

Perhaps someone with a thermal cycler would want to test some chips? I could send them some and we could run them from like -10C to 40C a few thousand times and see if they survive?

Then it would happen regularly. This was the first time since I implanted it - hence the worry: I’m concerned that it’s a sign it might be failing.

Yes. That’s how I knew it was the chip not answering: when I couldn’t log in, I presented my hand and the reader beeped.

I could do it: we have 4 temperature chambers at the office. They’re used to cycle our products from -35C to +65C at the end of production, for QC and for calibration. I could drop a chip in each of them and wait a few months. I think 3 of them cycle at least 20 times a week each during heavy production periods. But I have no spare DT chips to throw in them.

I guess if they survive that, they’ll survive anything: even when my feet are really cold and numb, they’re probably above freezing at the surface of the skin, and a few degrees above that just under it where the chip lives. And when they’re at that temperature, I make damn sure they don’t stay that way for very long. Our chambers stay at -35C for almost 10 minutes.

sweet. i will prepare a care package.

Wait until I clear it with my boss. Most likely he won’t mind, but let’s make sure first.

If he’s okay, you can send me a few to put in each chamber: I’ll stick them in a piece of duct tape attached to the back wall. There can be quite a few of them in each strip of duct tape.

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I could test one or two from -80C to 100C

Pretty much dry Ice to boiling water a bunch, no scientific way. And it would only be as many times as I can do it.

Speaking of testing - if my boss is okay of course - there is another device we have you might be interested in: we have a drop tester. Essentially it’s a carriage onto which we attach one of our devices, and we drop it repeatedly from a height of 2 meters until the device fails. It doesn’t get used all the time (just for product design and component supplier qualifications), but again I could tape a few chip to the carriage and leave them there. It probably does between 100 to 500 drops per month.

Is it possible that your feet being cold resulted in poor placement on the reader due to lack of sensation?

No: the reader I use is high-power / long range: it reads from 4/5" away easy. Same as this one:

Also, when I realized it didn’t ring, I looked at it and tried to position it as nice as possible several times, to no avail. And then suddenly it started working again as it always did.

Any chance it was the reader not the implant?
Just thinking of all possibilities

Nope: the reader worked fine with the EM in my hand.

I thought of all that too. The only remaining possibility I can think of is that it was somehow disabled temporarily, either by temperature, or by a loose solder joint - possibly the latter caused by the former. If that’s what it is, the problem is bound to reappear some day. I sure hope not…

I have a remedy, but you won’t like it

If the implant is damaged, it’s too late for your remedy :slight_smile:


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He needs something like this, to keep the barefoot feel.

your product go on top the platform yes, not being hit by the impactor, but riding on top of it?

Assuming the boss approves, any chance you could take photos of the thermal cycling and video of the drop tester with chips on? … for the testing page?

Yes that’s right: the product is attached to the rail that’s screwed onto the sacrificial block of wood (the “impactor”). There’s a bit of unused flat space above the horizontal aluminum bar the block of wood is screwed onto: I’m thinking of taping a few chips there. They’re so light they won’t damage anything.

And of course, I can tape a few chips directly under the impactor, for repeated massive squashing testing.

Also, I’ve been meaning to add a proper hit counter to that device for a long time. I could simply add a reader at the bottom of the guillotine and catch one of the chips passing by. That would be a good occasion to implement a counter, and a dead-or-alive check for the chip at each hit at the same time. I could even ship the data to you, to add a live counter on one of your pages (as in, “that chip has survived xxx hits so far”) :slight_smile:

My boss is cool. I don’t think he would mind, since there wouldn’t be any identifiable information in the photos or videos. But I still want to run that one past him because, well, I can’t just go misuse the facilities willy-nilly. Also, our product aren’t consumer products, and there might be restrictions dictated by our customers. But I doubt it.

Lemme check with him on Monday.


I just ordered 3 of those WiFi NFC readers to query the status of the chips remotely :slight_smile: