TecTiles logo (via Samsung)
NFC (Near Field Communication) can trace its roots all the way back to 1983 when Charles Walton patented his ‘Portable Radio Frequency Emitting Identifier,' the first to use the acronym RFID, which is considered the predecessor to NFC. Arguably, you can trace NFC’s roots all the way back to 1945 when a Soviet scientist created a covert listening device which retransmitted ‘incident’ radio waves which were augmented with audio information. NFC technology uses RFID as a foundation and allows for communication between two end-points instead of only one way (ID cards, 3D barcodes and LoJack).
This is where Samsung’s TecTiles come in, they allow for interaction with smartphones through touching which provides automatic functions such as setting the phones alarm, social media functions, transfer contact information and automatically launch applications, just to name a few. Just "tap" the TecTile with your device to perform the action. The tiny stickers are programmed using a NFC enabled smartphone using a downloadable app which allows the user to place only one function on each sticker, however according to Samsung each sticker can be re-programmed up to 100,000 times (and can also be locked for security).
As with any new product there are some limitations and ‘bugs’ that need to be overcome before the smart stickers can be fully implemented into daily life. The first issue being limitation as TecTiles can only be used by a handful of NFC enabled phones that include the Galaxy Nexus, Nexus S 4G, Galaxy Nexus (T-Mobile), Galaxy S II and Galaxy S Blaze (all Android) with no word as of yet if other providers/brands will be included anytime soon. As far as bugs go, you cannot use TecTiles on metal surfaces as it interferes with the communication between the sticker and the phone which makes using them in an iron foundry practically null. They are available on Samsung’s website as of now for $14.99 US for a pack of five.