IDENTIFICATION

Gaming

RFID technology can be used to build a bridge between electronic games in the virtual world of games consoles, and conventional games that require physical presence and personal interaction

Although the basic (relatively cheap) game provides initial on-screen adventures, the game becomes much more fun with the addition of various extras such as a torch, a rope ladder, a boat, bunny hopping boots, a survival manual, a penknife or even friends to join the adventure, such as a small dog, which can crawl through narrow passageways in order to open doors from the other side for everyone to pass through. Although the basic (relatively cheap) game provides initial on-screen adventures, the game becomes much more fun with the addition of various extras such as a torch, a rope ladder, a boat, bunny hopping boots, a survival manual, a penknife or even friends to join the adventure, such as a small dog, which can crawl through narrow passageways in order to open doors from the other side for everyone to pass through. All of these extras use RFID technology because a corresponding miniature object, miniature figure, etc., is placed on a simple device known as a base or portal that is connected to the console. Inside this base/portal is an RFID reader that is connected to the games console. When a miniature (such as a miniature torch or a boat), which wouldn't be out of place in a display case, is fitted on to the base/portal (with integrated RFID reader), the RFID reader detects the RFID tag incorporated in each miniature, reads it and ensures that these extras (in this case the torch or boat) are also available in the virtual world. When the gamer removes the relevant miniatures from the base/portal (RFID reader), they also disappear from the virtual world. This means that, instead of giving a sterile enable code, grandparents can give a miniature figure with an integrated RFID tag. In addition, several players can join together in an adventure: one bringing a torch, another a boat, a third a survival manual (with integrated RFID tag), etc., in order to play as a team. The level, awards, and game status achieved are stored in the RFID tags of the miniatures, which means for example that a survival expert who has already played in many adventure worlds (games consoles) has a great deal of experience. The extras that can be added are essential for reaching new levels and above all for earning (more) money for the manufacturers – and all thanks to RFID technology. Of course, these gaming ideas apply not only to virtual adventure worlds, but also to virtual racing, virtual space exploration, knights, etc. 

IP-Protection

Wherever there is a need for IP protection or protection from imitations, RFID technology can help – with both hardware and software protection

Hardware and software can also be clearly assigned to one another using ID. Manufacturers can also clearly identify original accessories when providing spare parts, for example for a Smartphone. An ID tag in an external speaker purchased as an original accessory can for example be used to activate a software routine that ensures particularly clear and optimally adjusted sound reproduction. A conventional area of application for ID tags is in print cartridges for printers where only original cartridges (identified by ID tags) enable a special high-quality print mode. In lithium-based rechargeable batteries, IP protection can also play an important role because lithium batteries require load voltages and load currents that are very accurately adjusted to the battery chemistry in order to prevent thermal runaway. The simplest solution for protecting the entire device is to only permit the use of certified original batteries – and this certification can be implemented easily using ID tags. Over-build protection is also implemented effectively using ID technology: if for example a manufacturer is contracted to produce 100,000 devices, then the OEM provides 100,000 specially encoded ID chips, without which any remaining devices will not operate. 

PayTV

Pay TV uses contact-type rather than wireless ID technology

Unlike many other identification applications, pay TV uses contact-type rather than wireless ID technology. The cryptographic controller in the access card for pay TV is then used to enable the service or decode the transmitter signal. Vouchers for a trailer, a film sequence or even an entire film can be implemented efficiently using ID technology: an advertisement includes an NFC tag, which can be read by a Smartphone and the tag contents can then be sent to the pay TV box via RFID.

Tap and Pair

Tap and Pair offers an easy way to create clear, logical connections

If, for example, you want a Smartphone to stream music to a stereo system via a Bluetooth connection, in the past this required a relatively complex code entry process. With Tap & Pair, the NFC phone is simply placed on the stereo system and streaming can begin, while the integrated speaker in the phone is de-activated – even if the Smartphone is a few metres from the stereo system. In this way, numerous devices can be assigned individually without problems. 

Wireless Service Interface

Service personnel can use a wireless service interface and an RFID reader or NFC phone to access the electronics inside a device

The example of a washing machine illustrates the potential of this technology. In washing machines, service plugs are undesirable as they can cause problems in terms of water leakage or mechanical/electrical issues. In the event of a washing machine fault, the end customer only has to hold his NFC Smartphone next to the washing machine and read the contents of one of the dual interface memories that are written by the washing machine. This bi-directional RFID tag contains error codes that have been written by the washing machine via a (wired) microcontroller interface and acts like a blackbox or data logger because the washing machine writes its most recent actions and status permanently to the memory. The end user's Smartphone or the service technician's reader can read the RFID tag even when the machine is switched off because it operates completely independently of the power supply and does not use the wireless component of the other electronics. The normal data link of the Smartphone can be used to send the data to the manufacturer via an app, so that the service technician has an immediate overview of the current situation – even if the end user has read the RFID element. Perhaps thereforethe service technician discovers that although water has been heated, the lye pump has not worked properly. This remote maintenance can often be used for remote diagnostics, ensuring that the technician brings the necessary replacement parts when visiting the customer. A wireless service interface can also be used to enable functions – usually for a fee – without opening the device. If a device is sent to the manufacturer in the event of an error, the manufacturer can read the error memory in the RFID tag before even opening the device or the package, and can also read the operating hours, information about the guarantee status, the hardware or the software – even for a faulty device. However, a wireless service interface can also be used to set country-specific parameters. If, for example, a printer delivery is sent to the USA, then shortly before dispatch the defaults are programmed in the factory to imperial measurements (inches and letter format) and to English as the user language, while a printer for the German market is set to metric measurements (cm and DIN A4 format) and German as the user language. In this way, a company can produce a single hardware version for the global market while still offering highly efficient country-specific adaptations.