Inside Secure has released dual-interface near field communication (NFC) tags designed to enhance interactions between NFC capable devices. In addition to a conventional NFC contactless interface, the dual-interface NFC Forum Type 4 tags provide a unique one-wire interface that allows them to act as a low-cost wireless communication bridge between two devices.
For example, a single tap of an NFC phone on a Bluetooth wireless headset containing one of these tags can initiate pairing. The tag detects the NFC field on the contactless interface and sends a pulse over the one-wire interface to the microcontroller inside the headset to start the pairing process. This same kind of field sensing could be used to quickly and automatically establish initial Wi-Fi connectivity between an NFC device such as a tablet and a new wireless access point, or to start transferring data, through the tag, between the NFC and host devices.
The dual-interface NFC Type 4 Tag is available in two memory configurations. The VaultIC 151D offers a 1.5-KB file system size, while the VaultIC 161D has a 16-KB file system size. Each tag integrates a standard contactless interface with full ISO 14443 Type B protocol support for communicating with NFC devices and an Inside Secure proprietary one-wire interface for connection to a host processor (using just one GPIO). The data in the file system can be accessed over either interface using the standard NFC Forum command set.