AppNearMe MicroNFCBoard is a development platform for Near Field Communication (NFC) comprised of an NFC transceiver, an NXP MCU, and all software stack and tools you need for development. This board also exposes various I/Os that allows you to connect to external hardware or devices, and it can be used with an Arduino, Raspberry Pi, mbed or PC/Mac.
Let’s go through the board specifications first:
- MCU – NXP LPC11U34FHN33/421 Cortex M0 MCU @ 48MHz, with 10KB RAM, 48KB FLASH, 4KB EEPROM
- Transceiver – NXP PN512. Reader/Writer and card operation modes supporting ISO14443A/Mifare and FeliCa schemes. NFCIP-1 mode
- Splittable antenna
- USB – 1x micro USB port for power and programming
- I/O – 20x through holes with access to serial (UART), I2C, SPI, 4x ADC inputs, IRQ, Boot and Reset, and power pins. (2x pin header that you can solder are provided)
- Misc – Reset and bootloader enable push-buttons, 2x LEDs.
- Power Supply – 5V USB, 3.6-6V or 3.3V supply
- Dimensions – 35x100mm
The board can be programmed using mbed.org online compiler, high level C/C++ SDK, as well as libraries and projects. I’d like to point out that AppNearMe has been working on NFC and mbed for a while, as I wrote about an mbed platform using their uNFC stack back in 2012.
The three main NFC modes can be handled with the board using the provided API:
- Tag reading/writing (types 1, 2, 3 and 4) – Used to communicate with passive NFC tags
- Peer-to-peer (Android Beam/SNEP) – To send and receive messages over NFC.
- Tag emulation (type 4) – Emulates a NFC tag that you can read with your NFC enabled smartphone for example.
The software also allows you to decode in NDEF (NFC Data Exchange Format) including URL/URI, text, Bluetooth pairing info, and MIME Type + data.
MicroNFCBoard can be used in standalone mode, or can be connected to Arduino via SPI, and other platforms (ARM development boards, PC/Mac) via USB using a Python library for programming. The board will be fully open source with the company releasing the board firmware, and hardware designed files.
Some practical examples include a robot piloted with NFC tags, a Youtube video transferred from an Android phone to a Raspberry Pi via NFC, a mood lamp demo, or light and temperature data in real-time with an Android phone. The video below shows how it’s possible to have different users login to the Raspberry Pi board with their own NFC tag, or their smartphone.
The company has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund mass production of the board with 20,000 GBP. The early bird perk start at 30 GBP (~$51.5) to get MicroNFCBoard, after which it will be 40 GBP (~$68.5). Other perks with NFC tags, sensors, multiple MicroNFCBoards, the mood lamp, etc.. are also available. The boards are expected to ship on October 2014.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.