NFC And EEPROM Chips Interact Via Passive RF Technology

Dec. 28, 2010

Geneva, Switzerland: The latest secure microcontrollers and nonvolatile memory technologies from STMicroelectronics open new possibilities for interaction between mobile phones and other electronic devices, according to the company. Equipped with ST’s near-field communications (NFC) chip, a mobile phone can upload and download data over the air from any equipment fitted with the company’s RF-enabled EEPROM memory.

“The powerful combination of wirelessly accessible nonvolatile memories and near-field communication is set to change the way users interact with all kinds of electronic devices using their mobile phone,” commented Sylvain Fidelis, RF memory marketing manager at STMicroelectronics.

The dual-interface EEPROMs enable RF access to parameters stored in electronic devices using passive RFID technology that doesn’t consume any on-board power. For example, in various health-monitoring devices, these EEPROMs store patient information and other important data.

With mobile phones that integrate an ISO 15693-capable NFC router, such as the STMicroelectronics ST21NFCA, it’s possible to download the data and either display the information on the handset or send it to the doctor for real-time diagnosis, even when the monitoring device is turned off.

The combination of NFC and dual-interface EEPROM technologies can also simplify the programming or servicing of consumer electronics and home appliances. Users could place their mobile phone close to a TV set or a washing machine to read and send traceability information or operating data to the service center. Similarly, they will be able to reprogram or recalibrate the equipment using a code sent to their phone by the service provider.

The M24LR64 EEPROM memory device integrates both a standard digital I2C and a passive radio frequency (ISO 15693) interface. In RF mode, the memory requires no power as it gathers both the energy and the data from the system. This enables on-board energy savings and provides an easy and convenient way to remotely program or update electronic products, anytime and anywhere.

The ST21NFCA system-on-a-chip solution integrates all the necessary hardware and software for a complete NFC system, supporting all existing contactless standards for proximity and vicinity, including the ISO 15693 RF technology. It combines a flexible microcontroller architecture with embedded nonvolatile memory for easy firmware and functional upgrades and multiple connectivity channels to address different phone system architectures.


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