Applications for Near-Field Communication (NFC) devices and readers are becoming integrated with new services like Google Wallet. NFC allow you to access useful but private information from your phone of some other electronic portable device. The problem with these systems is that many are easy to extract the data if a device is ever stolen.
NXP Semiconductors is working on the solution to this problem in the form of a sensing card that can be integrated into existing NFC systems to provide an added layer of protection. They are demonstrating how it works at CES 2012.
This card looks like a regular ID card with information printed on it and space for a photograph. But inside it has NXP’s secure element, a cortex M0 processor, LED indicator lights and a capacitive touch sensor pad that doubles as a number pad and can detect gestures drawn on it. These gestures and pins can be personalized by using a desktop application included with the smart card. It has no internal energy source but is powered by the RF field created by NXP’s NFC reader.
The card provides an extra step needed to access the information from your NFC device by requiring a PIN number or programmed gesture to proceed with any transaction or activity. It also protects against malware that can be unknowingly present in your system and could steal private information.
The card will not be released for another 6 to 12 months. Expect more features outside those demonstrated at CES.
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