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NFC-Enabled Refrigerator Shares Data With Mobile Phones

Dongbu Daewoo has released its Klasse Smart series of refrigerators in Korea that incorporate an STMicroelectronics RFID tag to collect data about an appliance's functionality, and then transmit it to a user's mobile phone.
By Claire Swedberg
Aug 05, 2013

Korean electronics and home appliance firm Dongbu Daewoo Electronics is selling a Near Field Communication (NFC)-enabled refrigerator in Korea that allows users to track the condition and efficiency of their kitchen appliance, by means of an NFC smartphone loaded with a Dongbu Daewoo application. The fridge comes with sensors and a processor that track the conditions within, wired to an STMicroelectronics (SMT) M24LR NFC RFID tag that transmits that data when interrogated by an NFC reader. The system, known as Klasse Smart, is just the beginning for the incorporation of NFC technology into home appliances, predicts Sylvain Fidelis, STMicroelectronics' marketing manager.

With the continued proliferation of NFC technology, Fidelis explains, the appliance manufacturer determined that the market was ready for a smarter refrigerator that could "talk" to consumers about their appliance's condition, as well as link them to necessary service representatives. The refrigerator comes with sensors to detect whether any of its three compartments are open, and to measure the temperature within each compartment. It also includes a processor that tracks the appliance's energy consumption. All of that data is then stored on an STMicroelectronics M24LR NFC tag containing 8 kilobytes of memory. The tag stores the information until queried by a user equipped with an NFC phone, at which time it transmits that data, and the user's app then displays any relevant information.

Integrated in the electronic workings of Dongbu Daewoo's Smart Klasse refrigerator is STMicroelectronics' M24LR NFC RFID tag (shown in inset), enabling a consumer to use a smartphone to interact with the appliance.
A user with an NFC reader built into a phone or tablet would first read the appliance's tag, and then download Dongbu Daewoo's Klasse Smart app. At that time, that person would be invited to select which functions he or she wishes to activate—for example, the user could track specific details, such as the temperature within one of the machine's three compartments, or the length of time that a door was left open, and how frequently this occurred. Those options are then saved, with the user's profile linked to his or her mobile phone or tablet reader.

A user wishing to learn about the refrigerator's performance or activity can tap the reader against the tag, installed toward the top front of the machine, on the door's exterior. The tag is wired to the fridge's sensors and processor. Once interrogated, the tag transmits the data via a high-frequency (HF) 13.56 MHz signal, using the ISO 15693 air-interface protocol.

The phone then forwards that data to Dongbu Daewoo's server, which stores the information about the refrigerator's functionality and sensor details, along with any other data that should be displayed for that particular user.

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