Near Field Communication (NFC) is hot. It is available in hundreds of millions of smartphones, tablets, and other consumer electronics, and enters more and more the industrial space as well.
This article shows how to implement the demos of our "Industrial NFC Demonstrator", first exhibited at embedded world 2017 in Nürnberg.
Parameterization & Diagnosis
This demo shows how you can use an NFC phone to parameterize/configure a DIN rail module (or any other piece of electronics) with an NFC phone - even if the module is completely unpowered. The smart phone app lets you set the behavior of the lamps and also the language of the display. After the configuration (a simple tap) you switch on the main power, and the device comes up as configured. And NFC also lets you read out diagnostic data - no matter whether the device is powered on or off. So you can even replace your service UART by NFC. Thirdly, the demo shows how easy it is to even flash your firmware via NFC. Again, this works even when the device is switched off.
Interested how this looks like in a commercial product? Watch this video showing how easily the Schneider Zelio NFC Timer Relay can be configured via NFC.
In this demo you see how NFC can establish a communication between 2 devices with up to 40 kbit/s. The angular position of the rotating disk is measured, communicated to the main board via NFC and displayed on an LED ring. The nice thing: The rotating disk is without battery. Energy harvesting via NFC provides supply power up to 15mW. This principle of using NFC as a cable replacement is especially interesting in cases where you want to communicate with fully sealed, isolated, moving or rotating units. The communication is bi-directional, and the data can be static (a button press, or configuration data) or dynamic (sensor measurements).
The demo is based on the CLRC663 plus reader on the main unit and the NTAG I²C plus passive connected tag on the rotating disk. See here the video from embedded world 2017 demonstrating this application.
In the Physical Access Control demo, we show a simple implementation of a basic access control solution using a Type 4 tag and a CLRC663plus based reader, based on the public NFC Reader Library. NXP recommends for a complete real-life access control solution to use MIFARE DESFire credentials as with the MIFARE DESFire EV2 card. Supporting software library is under NDA.
This demo shows how easy it is to pair wireless devices to your phone with NFC - using an example of the Kinetis KW41 Freedom board (BLE MCU), with an NTAG I²C plus kit for Arduino® pinout for the NFC function. This new NTAG I²C plus kit is suitable for any board featuring an Arduino-compatible header, including LPCXpresso, Kinetis and i.MX boards. It is the ideal tool to evaluate and design-in an NTAG I²C plus tag chip in an embedded electronic system.
A nice example of how to build versatile applications, is shown in the automation demo with the Hexiwear IOT development platform. Based on Kinetis MCUs and hundreds of available click-boards (plug-ins with sensors, actuators, transceivers - and of course also NFC), you can quickly build a prototype of your application. Two NFC-based click-boards are available:
The automation demo uses 3 different Hexiwear base boards, connected between them via Zigbee. The NFC unit identifies a technician's badge, and also the tools he uses for his job. The second unit drives the instrument panel, and the third one the big LED screen.