Electronic Design

New Infrastructure, New Applications

Once NFC-enabled phones are in use, additional RFID applications will begin to proliferate. Gentag Inc. recently announced its patent for “Radio Frequency Identification Based Sensor Networks,” which makes it possible to add wireless sensors to the NFC ecosystem.

Gentag envisions low-cost disposable RFID sensors made from its single-point-calibration temperature-reference circuit. The company foresees an NFC phone reading the storage history of a wine bottle prior to purchase; or, for specialized disposable diagnostic applications, reading wireless skin patches or interacting with personal drug-delivery systems.

Motorola envisions the “digital paperclip” concept to use the phone as a way to avoid misplacing important items. For example, by putting a digital paperclip on a key ring, the phone can alert its owner if the keys are out of read range and are likely to be left behind.

Beyond the phone, the contactless payment chip is appearing in other new packages, tying in to the new contactless point-of-sale (PoS) infrastructure estimated to include 300,000 terminals in North America. Texas Instruments’ secure microcontroller-based, contactless PVC prelaminates contain its ISO/IEC 14443 chip and what TI claims is the industry’s smallest RF antennas.

A postage-stamp-sized inlay antenna measures 20 by 25 mm, and an oval-shaped inlay antenna sizes out to 41 by 20 mm. TI’s chip operates at low power using the tiny antenna to deliver a typical 120-ms transaction time and a 4-cm read range. The company delivered its PVC prelaminate form to Oberthur Card Systems for development of its VersaFOB keyfob and an oval-shaped payment product to MasterCard for its PayPass wristband.

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