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Datamars releases UHF RFID transponder for industrial laundry ••• STMicroelectronics issues NFC reader, kit for contactless applications ••• Elatec proximity reader combines RFID, NFC and Bluetooth functionalities ••• GAO RFID produces smart cabinet checkout system ••• NXP, Canonical to demo IoT gateways at Embedded World ••• CEL unveils article for IOT design engineers.
By Rich Handley

STMicroelectronics Issues NFC Reader, Kit for Contactless Applications

STMicroelectronics (ST) has combined its ST25R3911B Near Field Communicator (NFC) reader IC and STM32L476RE ultra-low-power microcontroller in its ST25R3911B-DISCO discovery kit, accelerating time to market for contactless applications. The board provides a reference for RF circuit layout and, with the included STM32 MCU software, can be quickly up and running as a high-frequency (HF) reader or NFC initiator.

The kit contains the company's ST25R3911B NFC reader IC, which offers differentiating features to help simplify design, streamline manufacturing and improve user experiences. Features for optimized power consumption include Dynamic Power Output, which avoids wasting energy by supplying the minimum amount of energy required to communicate with a target—an advantage for portable devices and payment terminals. Capacitive wake-up allows a card's presence to be detected, while drawing less than 5µA in sleep mode to preserve battery energy in equipment such as hotel card-key readers. Inductive wake-up is also supported.

The ST25R3911B RF receiver is approximately five times more sensitive than typical devices, the company reports, while up to 1.4 watts of output power allow for extended range without requiring an additional amplifier. Automatic Antenna Tuning (AAT) enables original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to fine-tune the antenna settings of end-user equipment on the production line. In addition, the ST25R3911B enables a single-chip solution for Very High Bit Rate (VHBR) operation, which boosts download speeds from 848 kilobits per second to 6.8 megabits per second, making it suitable for use with e-government systems, including passports.

All major contactless and RFID standards are supported, including the ISO 18092 (NFCIP-1) Active P2P, ISO14443A, ISO14443B, FeliCa and ISO 15693 contactless standards. This enables such applications as ticketing, asset tracking, device authentication, sensor-data collection and access control.

The companion STM32L476RE ultra-low-power microcontroller on the board features the 80 MHz ARM Cortex-M4 core with DSP extensions and floating-point unit, and achieves power savings through features such as smart architecture with FlexPowerControl, dynamic voltage scaling, and seven power-management modes with sub-mode options. An embedded memory protection unit enhances application security. The kit helps developers leverage the strengths of the MCU and reader IC together, and connects with the STM32 ecosystem, including sample code, IP blocks and expansion boards.

ST launched its new NFC-reader discovery kit at this week's Embedded World event, held in Nuremberg, Germany. According to the company, the kit will be ready to order from distributors or at st.com following the exhibition, priced at $49.

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