Near-field Communication (NFC) is everywhere.


Pull out your mobile and hit-up this list… does your device support NFC? If it’s recent, it probably does.

Have you seen PayPass logos at the gas station or supermarket?

So… a couple weeks back I got a new product announcement from Mouser. This particular hot-list featured something new and shiny from muRata, an innovative turn on RFID; the LXMS33HCNG-134.


Given the size of the package and the antenna configuration, I was skeptical about the advertised read range. The datasheet says 15mm at ~200mw with an antenna of 35 x 54mm… which I’m happy to say is spot-on.


If you look carefully, you can just make-out the tiny antenna traces embedded in the ceramic. Did you catch that? The antenna is integrated into the device using a multi-layer construction technique. Amazing… and brilliant!


I successfully read the tag with several different NFC readers, Samsung Galaxy SII (Skyrocket), Adafruit NFC Breakout, and the Seeed Studio NFC Shield. The read distance with the Adafruit NFC Breakout was exceptional.

With each successful test… ideas flooded in.

Countermeasure for Counterfeits
Have you heard of the National Defense Authorization Act? Take a look at Subtitle C Section 833.

“Contractor responsibilities in regulations relating to detection and avoidance of counterfeit electronic parts.”

Which essentially boils-down to all tiers of the supply chain being responsible for counterfeit detection.

Embed this little guy in the FR4 or add one just before ‘potting‘ a PCB with epoxy / ceramic and side-step the need to energize a circuit to get a device ID.

In-system Authentication
What about ‘certified’ systems that are compromised after being put into service? If you roll one of these into a programmer or cable – it would be possible for a device to permit or reject an upgrade!

Personal Authentication / Access
If you have a vehicle made after ~2005, chances are it has an RFID ignition system. Give it a try, when you insert your key into the ignition you might see a small key icon (or similar) flash on the dashboard for just a second while the key you inserted is validated.

Or, you could roll your own solution.

Size is the key… the package is so small that it could be integrated into just about anything: keys, id cards, hair clips, or buttons on your cloths.

Restricted Entry (digital locks)
Do you fail-safe or fail-secure? Whatever route you decide to take… you can add one of these to the mix to create a two-factor authentication system that could roll both ways depending on the credentials associated with the tag.

New Sight / New Voice
I would love to see these integrated en-masse into every-day objects. Anyone wearing a form-fitting glove with integrated antenna that terminates in a tiny earphone could greatly enhance a void landscape.

Gaming and Entertainment
GEO Caching, Sifteo, Settlers of Catan… have you played Skylanders? Imagine if the little Skylander carried its stats with it!

I could go on… but I need to get back to reading my new product announcements.

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