eNFC (electric NFC) is the conspicuously new type of communication technology utilizing the existing NFC infrastructure.
- By converting the magnetic field to the electric field, both data and power are transmitted through the human body.
- With the significantly improved transmission efficiency, we have achieved the propagation loss of the level approaching the contactless IC card.
- Succeeded in realizing a battery-less passive human body communication for the first time in the world.
NFC (Near Field Communication) is a standard for communication by placing the devices in close proximity. The main feature is the short range of connectivity less than several centimeters. It is now widely used for electronic money, contactless IC card entrance access, smartphone payment, etc.
In contrast, eNFC is the communication technology being realized by touching objects. Once you wear a designated wristband or ring, your body starts functioning like a smart card and you can authenticate with a single hand touch. Not “object to object” but “user to object” or “user to user” – smart, pleasant and human-focused communication has been realized.
While existing NFC provides the communication with the magnetic field coupling of coil-to-coil proximity, eNFC operates with the electric field coupling for electrode-to-electrode transmission. Although the electric field signal is attenuated very fast in the air of free space, it can propagate over a considerable distance inside the conductors and dielectrics (human body in the proposed scenario). This feature realizes the intuitive communication mechanism of transmitting data between eNFC devices and readers in case a single hand touch is performed.
The sole difference with the conventional NFC is the antenna. HF Frequency band (13.56MHz) and communication protocol used are the same as in the conventional standards. It means that you can use IC card and reader/writer module which are already available on the NFC market. In terms of mechanism for encryption and other security purposes, widely adopted NFC technology in the electronic money and authentication applications will be available as it is.
Connecting a hybrid antenna converting the magnetic field and into the electric field and back, you can access both the contactless IC card and the authentication device through the human body using only a single reader. After the new technology is introduced, you can choose the communication protocol preferable to use in each application.
By converting the magnetic field into the electric field with a dedicated adapter, you can easily substitute the device communicating via human body for an existing NFC device later on. Indeed, more than 4 billion of NFC-enabled devices that have been already supplied over the world will be the potential counterparts in the proposed communication, which is expected to create and further develop the eNFC market for real-life applications.