embedded world 2017: NFC tag type 2 integrates UART and GPIOs

The IoT concept has already been introduced many years ago. It took us into the new perspective of the internet-based system allowing us to communicate and interact between each node within the network. The IoT devices, especially sensors, are expected to have a capability to connect to the internet all the time, feeding periodic measuring data to the server for further processing. Even though such sensors are always ‘online’, the real data is sent through the network are only small amount compared with the high-speed connection. It is just like only one car in the 12-lanes highway, and it is wasting a battery even in the standby-mode. Moreover, a battery has a short lifetime and need a schedule-control maintenance. What if there is a passive IoT tag, a non-battery device that the ‘always-on’ connection is not required, but it still can connect with the IoT system? Have you ever think about any idea like this before? It is possible now with two keys, the smartphone and (Near Field Communication).

The Smartphone is a device containing many channels of communications. Nowadays, we can assume that there are more than 2 billion smartphone users in the world. Since smartphone is very wide-spread and enriched with communication powers, it is one of the best choices using in IoT as a display and control unit. Smartphone is rarely to be used as an input devices for the IoT application, but its possibility has been increased due to NFC, which is integrated with many modern smartphones. It is because the NFC can be used for retrieving the input data and then send them to the internet via smartphone’s data connection. The question is, how can we send the data from the sensors or other devices via the smartphone’s NFC? Moreover, how can we wirelessly power up the sensors and its related circuit without using any battery?

The answer is “, Technology’s product”, which can work as a bridge between NFC and the sensors or any other IoT devices. SIC4310 can be defined as an NFC type-2 tag, and it is conformed with ISO14443A communication protocol. Not only to be an NFC tag, but SIC4310 also has a UART interface and 8-GPIO pins which can be connected to many sensors, as well as MCU for IoT application. In addition, SIC4310 can harvest the energy from the NFC up to 10mA. This amount of energy is enough to supply several sensors, or the low-power MCU. Therefore, the passive IoT tag can be created by using SIC4310 as a key component to provide both power and communication.

As the passive IoT tag does not require using any battery, the tag does not require to make any open piece for changing the battery, make it mostly suitable for harsh environment. The tag can be sealed completely and then it can be read wirelessly by using the smartphone. The passive IoT tag also can be used for interacting between human and the system such as the telemedicine. For example, the tag can be put in the tablets’ blister pack which user can use the smartphone to read the data that which tablet has been consumed already. The data can be sent directly to the doctor to monitor the patient’s behavior.

In fact, it has to be admitted that the passive IoT tag cannot replaced the traditional way to implement the IoT system. However, it is the idea which can be applied in many ways to expand the possibility of the IoT to the new area. Silicon Craft Technology hopes that we can be the one that can help many people to live with more convenient life and make the living quality better.

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