Dual-interface NFC tags connects smartphones to any device

March 14, 2013 // By Julien Happich
Inside Secure has released an innovative near field communication (NFC) tag that creates virtually limitless possibilities for interactions between NFC mobile devices like smartphones and a broad range of medical, communications, entertainment and other electronic devices.

In addition to a conventional NFC contactless interface, the new Inside dual-interface NFC Forum Type 4 Tag also provides a unique one-wire interface that allows the tag to provide a low-cost wireless communications bridge between two devices, opening the door to an array of exciting new NFC applications.
With the new tags, for example, a single tap of an NFC phone to a Bluetooth wireless headset containing one of these tags can initiate the pairing operation. The tag detects the NFC field on the contactless interface and sends a pulse over the one-wire interface to the controller inside the headset to start the pairing process. This same kind of field sensing could be used to quickly and automatically establish Wi-Fi connectivity for the first time 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 offered in two memory configurations. The VaultIC 151D offers a 1.5-Kbyte file system size, while the VaultIC 161D has a 16-Kbyte file system size, the largest in the industry. Each tag integrates a standard contactless interface with full ISO14443 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). Accessing the data contained within the file systems from either interface is performed using the standard NFC Forum command set.

The large 16-Kbyte storage capability of an embedded VaultIC 161D NFC tag makes it ideal for use in home medical monitoring devices, where it is able to store a day's worth of medical data from the device’s host processor through the one-wire interface. At the end of the day, a simple tap on the device with an NFC smartphone can transfer all of the information stored in the tag through the NFC interface into the