NFC Antennas Have Other Uses

As NFC chips proliferate, so do the antennas they require for operation, and since many NFC-enabled items are single-use, this means there’s an opportunity to put them to other uses. It’s an avenue pursued by [Brother-live], as he strips the antennas from spent metro tickets and gets experimenting.

The antenna in an NFC-enabled card is a flexible PCB laminated between the plastic outer layers, with the tracks forming a coil round the outside of it. Using some solvent the cards can be easily separated and the antennas retrieved. Once the chip has been removed they can be cleaned up and soldered to, allowing wires to be connected.

What can you do with an NFC antenna? Not a huge amount as you can see in the (Russian language, English subtitles) video below the break, but he tries it as a not-very-good heating pad, a power harvesting antenna from NFC readers, and perhaps most promisingly, as the coil of a moving-coil speaker. We’re not sure how much effort would be worth making on that last front, but we think with a bit of care there might be room for audible improvement.

If you’ve ever been tempted to have a look at an NFC card, it’s a subject we’ve covered before.

38 thoughts on “NFC Antennas Have Other Uses

          1. Sort of. There are applications of NFC that wouldn’t really be considered RFID, like using it to setup a WIFI direct link and transfer files between phones. But there are RFID devices that are not NFC. For example, the ID chips they put in pets or the chip in a transponder key. Is a wireless credit card RFID? Maybe. What about apple pay?

            The best answer I think is that NFC is a communications protocol. RFID is an application. Apples and oranges.

          2. Apples and oranges is the best comparison. RFID is type of access control for purely identification, not authentication or confidence.
            NFC is a protocol capable of handshaking to exchange information in a weak wireless P2P connection type.

    1. 1. You can use them as garbage.
      2. You can use them as antennas for near field applications.
      3. You can stick them to peoples backs at places where conspiracy theorists are speaking and watch the fun begin!

    1. Russian-language content could be from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, or any number of countries. This particular one IS from Russia, but it’s just a normal person doing cool stuff. It doesn’t seem like they’re outwardly a war supporter or government-funded media.

    2. Do not identify someone with their government or their military, unless they explicitly ask you to, or behave in a way that it becomes obvious. Wars happen because gullible people believe whatever propaganda their government throws at them, and happens in very country, including so called democratic ones.

  1. You can use it to harvest energy, however, to do it successfully, you’ll need to mount tens, if not hundreds of them in a grid array, just to harvest a tiny bit of electromagnetic background radiation.
    Perhaps you can light up your bathroom with an LED from the experience. You’ll gain more energy from tapping off power from your landline phone, or generate electricity from a shower head or tap.

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