How They Work:Near Field Communication

As we saw last time, if you have your phone with you, you might not need the house keys after all, isn’t that great?  Another potential use is in marketing. It’s possible to incorporate an NFC tag inside a poster, for example.

As we saw last time, if you have your phone with you, you might not need the house keys after all, isn’t that great?  Another potential use is in marketing. It’s possible to incorporate an NFC tag inside a poster, for example. So if you see an ad for something that interests you, you can hold up your smartphone with an NFC chip up to it and receive more information. The main disadvantage to this type of marketing is that you’ll have to be very close to the poster to receive the signal though it is possible, it could be a pain!

There are many other potential uses that we could include using NFC to communicate health records or synchronize data between devices. In the future, a profile on your smartphone might let you pass through airport security seamlessly as you navigate NFC stations. Only the limitations of the technology itself will determine what we can or can’t do with it.  That still is not reason enough not to tap into this technology!

What is NFC after all? Back in 2004, three big companies, namely Nokia, Sony and Philips got together with the goal of establishing a standard for near field communication technology. While these companies worked to standardize NFC, the technology that makes it possible dates back much further. And it all begins with the relationship between magnetism and electricity.

When electrons flow through a conductor, they create a magnetic field. And when magnetic fields change, they can cause electrons to flow through a conductor. This relationship known as inductive coupling allows for some interesting applications in electronics. One of the most versatile is a transformer just to be clear, that’s a device that converts electricity from one voltage to another, that’s more than meets the eye.

It’s easy to see the effects of inductive coupling with a simple experiment. Take two lengths of copper wire and coil them the coiling helps amplify the magnetic fields we’ll be generating. Attach one length of copper wire to a battery. You now have a very simple circuit as electrons flow from one end of the battery through the wire and into the other end of the battery. Connect the second coil of wire to a voltmeter a device that measures voltage traveling through a circuit. Bring the two coils closer together and you should see the needle on the voltmeter move.

(To be continued)

 

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