DNFC Tag: NFC that Interacts with Microcontroller

Dynamic Near Field Communication tag, open-source NFC tag that communicates with microcontroller.
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ElecFreaks Tech
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Technology
Shenzhen
China
1 Team Member

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Thanks to your contribution, we've successfully hit the funding goal! We couldn't have gone thus far without your help.

We got two pieces of good news for you:

1. You can download some of documents of DNFC tag from our wiki:

All files are here. 

2. We get ball rolling on mass production this month with a plan of making 300 pieces as first batch, hoping to make shippment to every contributor as soon as possible.

>>>>>>>>>

Hi Indiegogo, we're ElecFreaks.

We're proud to bring about the Dynamic Near Field Communication tag (DNFC tag), an invention that who especially tech nerds and DIY lovers have been expected for long. It greatly standout among traditional read-only NFC tags because it’s readable and re-writable and it can communicate with various platforms, to name several most popular: Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Leaf Maple stm32 and some more. It owns a high level of dexterity, thus making it efficient, easy to execute and user-friendly.

NFC tags are cool, but programming them to do your bidding – whether unlocking your computer, making an Arduino vending machine, or a smart home application – requires using an NFC device to program the tag over the air. An NFC tag programmable with any ‘ol microcontroller would certainly have some interesting applications, and Elecfreaks’ DNFC tag is just the thing to test out these ideas.  -Hackaday



The clue is in the name: Near Field Communication. It allows NFC portable devices to establish peer-to-peer radio communications, delivering data from one to another by touching them or putting them very close together. Basically, when you get your phone (if it has NFC as a feature) close to something equipped with NFC - like a tag - it invokes an action on your device.


It is very similar to Bluetooth and wifi because the three use radio waves to operate and allow wireless communications. All have advocates and detractors but they don’t necessarily act against one another. On the contrary, they can cooperate to make things easier and more efficient.

First of all, it’s a tag, which is to say, it possesses all functions of ordinary tags. But the biggest difference for this tag which makes it standout among loads of tags, namely the pitch feature is, it gets connected directly to Micro Control Unit(MCU) to read and write(rewrite) data. We open source all the information for the needs of further development, including Arduino sample code, Raspberry Pi sample code, Leaf Maple sample code, DNFC tag schematics and Android sample APP source code.

However, you can never underestimate this “seems-simple-enough” connectivity; it can actually result in tremendous fantastic effects as your mind may think of. Let’s take a glimpse of how the connectivity sparks fires. 

DNFC Tag can easily exchange data with NFC-enabled phones. Compared with traditional read-only tags, its greatest advantage lies in the real-time communication with MCU via I²C which can bridge connectivity between the tag and devices. With it, users can realize a variety of applications such as intelligent watering system, wifi/Bluetooth password sharing, ID recognition, information exchange and other application scenarios.

Probably a contrast with typical NFC tag may better explain this:

Let’s imagine when we want MCU to read the tags, what shall we do: We have to get MCU connected to an NFC reader. 

Please note that an NFC reader is the only way we can get the reading process done. Without it, the data couldn’t be possibly read by MCU. There is no other solution.

Now we got DNFC tag and things change. We can simply remove the NFC reader, and only by plug in several lines, can we connect MCU and DNFC tag, thus realizing data transmission. 

DNFC allows direct connection with MCU to support data reading and writing. In this way, it’s very convenient for you to integrate NFC tag into your system to further realize additional functions that traditional NFC tags could not possibly cover. And just because it’s read-write two-way communication, it can be used for small simple data storage, such as your email account, password, your girlfriend’s birthday….

But you may still wonder what actually can this pitch feature used for?

Spot 1:

When you try to get WIFI connected in WIFI shield, you should….

The thing is, you got no keyboard, no LCD screen, then how to get your Ariduino WIFI shield linked with the router and how to enter a user name and password?

Old-day scenario: You open up Arduino IDE, write a string of codes which contains the username and password to burn into the Arduino UNO or other MCU. It’s no problem if you are following along the process. But once the router password is changed, or you need to remove it for another device, a repeat of the same steps will be accompanying. That means, you cannot wipe out your computer to get your Arduino WIFI Shield connected to the router.

DNFC tag Scenario:

As soon as your phone gets connected to the router, you can easily use the DNFC tag to pass the router username and the password to Arduino. By doing this, the Arduino WIFI shield can easily get access to the router at any time to surf the Internet. Just throw away the “again and again” code writing and burning, and set yourself free from a dump computer. 

Step 1: Get your phone connected to the router.

Step 2: Get DNFC tag connected to Arduino through I2C.

Step 3:

Click to open the APP (we provided) on your phone. Get the phone close to DNFC tag. The information of username and password will be delivered to the Ardiono, which later orders the Arduino shield to link to the router. 

The same pattern applies to television, refrigerator, air conditioner and other smart household furniture wifi access.

DNFC tag works perfectly well in the cases of a number of input-inquiry devices which bear no input or output facilities. Those devices, however, need to draw support from such input facilities as mobile phone keyboards and LCD screens to feed in information. They include refrigerators, washing machines, air conditioning, etc.

Last but not least, DNFC tag can be used as a low-cost short-range small data transmission tool:

Spot 1: Control smart colorful bulbs.

Smart colorful bulbs, capable to be controlled by mobile phones, enjoy good popularity because its variety of colors and twinkling effect create hot atmosphere. People use the mainstream short-range technology-WIFI and Bluetooth to control them. Yet a comparison indicates that the two modes are much more expensive than DNFC tag in the realization of bulb control. The cost for WIFI is approximately 10USD, Bluetooth 5USD, while DNFC tag, under mass production, is below 2 USD. DNFC tag can significantly reduce your costs. However, the current situation is not so encouraging. DNFC tag has not been understood and accepted and we’re currently trapped in the situation where the shipment is still small and IC cost relevantly higher than our imagination. We hereby, have been trying to lower down the price by putting it into mass production. 

Spot 2: Control watering system.


As the diagram displays, via DNFC tag, the watering system can be easily interconnected with the phone to enable users to set parameters and control watering themselves. We provide a completely open source Android APP, through which you can read the humidity, the temperature, set the data and water your garden. In this system, you can set the humidity percentage for starting watering, as well as the temperature extent for triggering warning. 

Spot 3: Set parameters and read data for smart bracelets.

Traditional smart bracelet uses Bluetooth and audio ports as data exchange media. As we see it, both of the two have cons: Bluetooth is too costly while audio ports are awful when entangled together. DNFC tag is convenient and fast to pass information to mobile phones, or vice versa, we can use it to set up parameters in smart bracelets. DNFC tag, if we apply it on the bracelets, can demonstrate “Bluetooth-excluded” features, that is, its utilization as NFC shortcut keys, to turn on a camera, to send SOS messages, to exchange business cards and etc.

Get DNFC tag connected with NFC-enabled mobile phones, the phones will be magically equipped with NFC capabilities, such as access control, mobile payment.

Get DNFC tag installed in vending machine or in stores, your customers simply drag out their phone off the pocket and pay by a tap. 


Want more gameplay of DNFC tag? It’s on your mind. Just come play your weird ideas.

At present, we provide the following open source resources to help get DNFC tag integrated into your system quickly:

1. DNFC schematics

2. DNFC Arduino sample code

3. DNFC watering system sample source code and Android APP

4. Android sample APP source code in WIFI password sharing system

All files are completely open source, you can download it on our WIKI page.


Applications

  • l  Intelligent watering system

  • l  IPTV smart TV wifi password flashing 

  • l  Vending machine

  • l  Bluetooth one-key pairing

  • l  Information exchange

  • l  Toy interaction

  • l  Social networking

  • l  Data exchange

  • l  Website launches

  • ...

  • 3k MIFARE compatible NFC tag

  • Power supply: 3.3V

  • NFC Type-4 tag

  • Support ISO14443B

  • I²C Interface

  • Support NDEF message reading and writing

  • Working temperature: -40℃ ~ 85℃

  • Working current: 250uA

  • Maximum sensing distance: 3.5cm

  • Size diameter: 53mm


1.  Versatile: interact with MCU

2.  Everlasting: write and rewrite for 10 thousand times

3.  Sensitive: short range wireless(1-4cm typical, 10cm theoretical)

4.  Prompt: trigger actions within one tenth of a second; no discovery, no pairing

5.  Intuitive use: tap to go

6.  Stylish: retro disk record appearance, sleek and simple

7.  Active targets: electrification is required 

Up to now we have completed all R&D work and we are ready for production.

We have spent a large amount of time designing and programming and invested financially on the development of DNFC tag. In order to share this fantastic product with the world, we need your support!

Our marketing department has been searching for and in negotiations with liable factories and fortunately we have gone somewhere. With your contribution, we will be able to put the final prototype into scaled-up manufacturing. We believe DNFC tag is a good solution in NFC. We cannot wait to get it onto the hands of many people as possible. And your support can make it happen!

If you fail to back us up financially, don’t worry! Just spread this URL to your relatives and loop. It can help a lot! And your suggestions on DNFC will be highly appreciated!


For more, you can check if your phone carries NFC from this list:http://www.nfcworld.com/nfc-phones-list/.

Or just check your phone setting to find if there is an NFC switch.

We are ElecFreaks, DIY studio located in Shenzhen, China. Committed on open source hardware and Arduino innovation, we provide solutions for designers to develop creative and unique prototypes. We are brought together by a single mission—to share with the world with our ideas and “wow” products.

Staying in the future other potential uses for DNFC tag include the usage of robotic intelligence or control devices around your home. It’s our strong belief that DNFC’s flexibility and versatility will make it a lust-worthy product.

Here's how you can reach us:

Press/Partnership: project@elecfreaks.com

Sales/Distributor: services@elecfreaks.com

Like all other hardware projects on Indiegogo, we are faced with some manufacturing challenges and may encounter some unexpected hurdles on logistics. That’s why we continuously endeavored to contact manufacturers and suppliers who can make quality goods and follow their lead time. To our great relief, we’ve found an acclaimed manufacturer who has good authority on assembly line and quality control. Also, we have allowed a margin of time before shipment. 

We have already built a working prototype for DNFC and are ready to bring this product to market.

1.  What phones does it work with?
It works with NFC-enabled phones. Currently some of Samsung, Blackbeery, Sony, Philips, Nokia, Google, Lenovo, Huawei, LG, Motorola, ZTE, etc. Check from Popular NFC Phones or from this web: http://www.nfcworld.com/nfc-phones-list/.

2.  What is special about DNFC tag?

  It is another means for wireless connection after Bluetooth and wifi. It can be connected to Micro Controller. 

  It is re-writable and readable.

  It is prompt and intuitive.

  It is sensitive.

3.  How can I use DNFC tag to build my own work?

We offer libraries for open source platforms, the corresponding routines and Android DNFC app. Users simply download files from our official web, add them to the open-source IDE platform and install the NFC app on the phone.

4.  Must we connect DNFC tag to MCU before using it?

Yes. A connection with MCU and electrical power supply is necessary.

5.  Can information be stored in DNFC tag?

Yes. 

6.  If we encounter some problems when using it, can we get some support?

Yes, we provide well-rounded technical support. If there is any technical problem or good suggestions during use, feel free to contact us. We will answer your questions one by one.

7.  Where are you at and what is your next-step plan?

We have already completed the working prototype and ready for production.

Our next step is to develop more open source hardware and solutions to share with you. 

8. What is NFC tag board?

NFC tag board  is our default Arduino MCU, convenient for linking with DNFC tag. You can connect them as two parts separately or just rack up to avoid wires curling up. 

Schematics: 




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