NXP Semiconductors, an early member of AIPIA, has launched a new family of near-field communication (NFC) integrated circuits (ICs) with tamper detection and status monitoring capabilities on a single chip, he says.
The NTAG 22x DNA NFC tag family is designed for use across consumer brands, as well as with healthcare and smart home products. It includes cryptographic security, in addition to conductive or capacitive tamper protection and can be built with capacitive sensing of humidity, pressure or fill level.
Christian Lackner, NXP Segment Manager for Smart Product Authentication and IoT Security, explains that the new beacons are designed to provide not only tamper detection, but also condition measurements using the power of interrogation. NFC from a smartphone. The NFC tag, which is ISO 14443 compliant, offers batteryless detection and two forms of tamper detection.
The conductive version uses a simple conductive loop embedded in a labeled tag that can be attached to a closed bottle cap. When the wire in this loop is broken, it triggers an open state to be written to the chip’s memory. The next time a retailer or customer queries the tag, the open status will then be displayed on the user’s smartphone.
With capacitive tamper detection, the tag electronics are connected to a capacitive structure or electrodes (metal plates) aligned with each other. If a tag has been tampered with, the capacity has been changed and the open state is stored in the chip’s memory once the tag is tapped against an NFC phone. This latest version of the tag may be more difficult for hackers to reconstruct.
While conductive mode is often best suited for tamper-proof labels and seals (for which a simple open or closed state would suffice), capacitive mode is designed for embedding labels into physical products and presents a barrier to reconstruction fraudulent.
Additionally, capacitance can help detect measurements, such as changes in an item’s environmental conditions (humidity, pressure, or fill level). When an NFC reader interrogates the tag, the energy from the tag is used to capture data and send it back to a reader. When a smartphone reads the tag through a mobile app, users can compare the change to preconfigured limits.
NXP expects the product to be used not only for brand authentication and tamper proof, but also for healthcare, as well as smart home and retail applications. Tags can measure moisture levels for smart wound care, provide fill level detection for smart injectable dosing devices, and offer refill reminders for consumer products. Electrodes are built into the label, running down the side of a bottle and allowing users to see if that bottle is full, empty, or three-quarters full, so can even be used on opaque bottles.
Additionally, according to Lackner, the NTAG 22x DNA’s cryptographically secure authentication message dynamically changes each time a tag is read, making taps non-cloneable, without requiring an app on the phone. The chips are now commercially available, and early deployments are focused on healthcare devices and products, as well as luxury branded beverages, such as wine and spirits, which require a smart box.
With the number of NFC-enabled phones expected to reach nearly 4 billion by the end of 2023, according to Lackner, half of the world’s population could soon have an NFC reader in hand. With these tags, “You don’t need to install an app on your phone to access the data. The system picks up the phone directly on the link. Personally, I think it breaks a big barrier.