Near Field Communication (NFC) enables devices such as smartphones to communicate with each other by touching them. The technology is hot these days especially if we look at the Internet of Things (IoT). NFC is fast, seamless and secure as the devices have to be very close together to communicate making it nearly impossible to hack the connection without physical presence. The trending technology is already used in many ways as the NFC tags (NFC chip which holds information, energy mostly through energy harvesting) are really tiny in size and can be attached to nearly anything and programmed easily via smartphones.
Google and Apple already use the communication standard to enable their mobile payment technologies. But one thing has been missing a little bit form NFC so far: Tags which are capable of working with sensors, to not only store data passively but to read, use and save information coming from sensors.
Texas Instruments yesterday announced the industry’s first flexible high frequency 13.56 MHz sensor transponder family. The highly integrated ultra-low-power RF430FRL15xH system-on-chip (SoC) family combines an ISO 15693-compliant NFC interface with a programmable microcontroller (MCU), non-volatile FRAM, an analog-to-digital converter (ADC) and SPI or I2C interface. The dual-interface RF430FRL15xH NFC sensor transponder is optimized for use in fully passive (battery-less) or semi-active modes to achieve extended battery life in a wide range of consumer wearables, industrial, medical and asset tracking applications.
With this technology it is super-easy to build new applications which are highly beneficial for the consumer. Developers can now design products that require an analog or digital interface, data-logging capabilities and data transfers to an NFC-enabled reader. The RF430FRL15xH transponder acts as a sensor node for these applications and generates an IoT-ready solution when an NFC-enabled device pushes the data to the cloud.
Healthcare applications can benefit as it is now possible to build disposable patches which sense temperature, hydration and more. This allows patients to monitor and share vital data securely with their health providers. The device monitors and logs data in local storage (FRAM) before transferring it to an NFC-enabled tablet or smartphone.
Logistic challenges like food-tracking which need constant temperature control can be simplified as food can be monitored and logged with the RF430FRL15xH transponder. It allows the design of highly integrated, size-optimized and easy-to-use data loggers with several sensors that connect to NFC-enabled devices and readers throughout the distribution channel.
NFC Temperature Patch Reference Design
There are many more ideas that can easily be realised with this technology and we are very excited to see what the creative developers, engineers and makers will build with these new resources!
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