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NFC sol'n offers space savings for smart watches, wearables

Posted: 23 Oct 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Ams? NFC? wearable? smart watch? contactless payment?

Ams AG has rolled out an NFC solution for makers of smart watches, wristbands and other space-constrained devices. According to the company, the device will allow the manufacturers to reliably support contactless payments and ticketing.

The AS3921 is an NFC analogue front end (AFE) with boostedNFC technology from Ams, which increases the useable operating volume of an NFC reader by up to 900 per cent when compared to conventional NFC implementations, the company satted. This greatly improves the reliability and perceived speed of NFC transactions, particularly in devices such as smart watches and wristbands that only have room for an extremely small antenna. It also ensures reliable NFC transmission in other device types that have a smaller antenna than a contactless card's, or which present difficult operating conditions for NFC transmissions.

Optimised for space-constrained assemblies, the AS3921 enables OEMs to implement a simpler design than the conventional NFC controller-based architecture allows, resulting in a simpler and cheaper solution, occupying a board footprint around one third smaller, using fewer components and consuming less power, the company noted.


Drawing just 12?A in normal operation, and providing a power-saving Secure Element wake-up function, the AS3921 drains far less power from the battery than NFC controller circuits, which typically draw 60?A or more.

Packaged in an ultra-compact wafer-level chip-scale package (WL-CSP) measuring just 2.115mm x 1.735mm, and connecting directly to the Secure Element with few external components required, the AS3921 with boostedNFC technology implements active load modulation: it generates an RFID card response that is synchronous to the reader's field. This allows for card-to-reader communication at coupling factors as much as one order of magnitude lower than is possible with the passive load modulation (PLM) used by contactless cards.

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