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RFID News Roundup

NXP announces commercial release of NTAG I2C chip • • • U.S. Naval Research Lab designs RFID solution for NYC Fire Dept. • • • Sports stadium uses Radius Networks' beacons to give away meat pies • • • Tyco Retail Solutions updates TrueVUE software • • • Trimble, Digi-Key partner on distribution agreement.
By Beth Bacheldor
Sep 04, 2014

The following are news announcements made during the past week by the following organizations: NXP Semiconductors; U.S. Naval Research Laboratory; DC4G, Radius Networks; Tyco Retail Solutions, Technology Solutions UK Ltd.; Trimble, and Digi-Key.

NXP Announces Commercial Release of NTAG I²C Chip

NXP Semiconductors has announced the commercial availability of its NTAG I²C chip, designed for a wide variety of applications, such as home appliances, consumer electronics, wearable technology and home automation. The chip combines a passive Near Field Communication (NFC) RFID IC, compliant with the ISO 14443A and NFC Forum Compliant Type 2 Tag standards, with an I²C interface, energy harvesting and non-volatile, on-board EEPROM memory. The combination of I²C and RFID technologies, according to NXP, enables new types of NFC tag interactions, such as the personalization of electronic devices, as well as device maintenance. The solution, which won the RFID Journal Award for Best in Show at this year's RFID Journal LIVE! conference and exhibition (see Smarter Things), features a specific pass-through mode that allows the device to serve as an easy-to-integrate communication pipe for unlimited bi-directional data exchange between a feature-rich NFC device—which may have a connection to the cloud and an advanced user-interface/display—and electronic devices.

The NTAG I²C chip's memory can be accessed not only wirelessly via an RFID reader, but also by means of a wired I²C connection between the chip and any electronic device in which it is embedded, according to NXP. For example, manufacturers of appliances and wearable devices could incorporate the chip into their products so that consumers could use their existing NFC-enabled mobile phones as a remote user interface, rather than having to rely on expensive touchscreens or on Wi-Fi connectivity for wireless data exchange on home electronics.

The NTAG I²C solution, NXP reports, can harvest energy from a mobile device to power external circuitry, such as a low power microcontroller. Optimized for very low-power operation, it also includes a field-detect function for automatic power-up, so that the mobile device's battery is not drained during standby while awaiting the presence of an NFC phone. Data can be saved even if the power supply is lost. The solution is fully supported by NXP's recently released Mifare software development kit (SKD), designed to provide access to all hardware features on Java level, and to streamline the development of Android apps. The SDK, NXP explains, allows Android app developers to concentrate their efforts on designing creative apps for a wide range of new applications that support the Internet of Things (IoT) and wearable technology.

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