You’ve probably heard about NFC but what is it, you ask? NFC (Near Field Communication) is an extension of RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) but with a purposefully decreased range. I know, why would you want LESS range? Mostly for security. You see, it’s common to think that RFID tags need to be right next to a reader before they register. In lots of cases this is true, but you can “shoot” a radio signal at an RFID tag or purchase a long range scanner to read it if from a distance. Since NFC is limited to a maximum of around 4 inches, it’s much more difficult for anyone to get your information without you knowing. This makes it a great technology to use for touch-less payment, door entry, or anywhere else that security is a consideration.

This NFC Shield for Arduino (available in the Maker Shed) is a great way to experiment with NFC and other 13.56MHZ RFID applications. The shield can be used it to not only read tags, but to write them as well. It can even “act” as an NFC tag for bi-directional communication with NFC equipped cell phones and tablets. The NFC Shield uses I2C or SPI for communication to minimize pin usage, and the antenna design improves reception and allows you to stack shields on top of it. The kit includes header pins (a little soldering required) and one writable MiFare 1k 13.56 MHZ NFC card. Since one card isn’t too much fun, we also have an assortment pack of 6 writable, 1KB tags available.