ArchiTech Louvre board accelerates NFC wireless development

Paul Boughton

Distributor SILICA has developed its own board to accelerate the development of near field wireless links. Nick Flaherty reports

The ArchiTech Louvre board is a platform to help engineers accelerate the implementation of Near Field Communications (NFC) in electronic devices and is based around the NXP LPC11U37 ARM Cortex M0 microcontroller and the NXP NTAG I2C tag IC. It comes with firmware and sample Android applications, and source code is provided under GPL (the General Public License for the GNU operating system).

The Louvre board is also equipped an Arduino connector interface to facilitate connection to an external platform for which thousands of applications are available and has an integral 2.7-inch, e-ink display.

The ArchiTech Louvre board connects to a smartphone or other NFC enabled device for upgrading firmware, reading sensors (without consuming power) and exchanging data with the MCU. The M0 MCU consumes just 85µW/MHz, which means that the board is ideal for development of low power devices, such as sensor nodes for the Internet of Things. The e-ink display only consumes energy when it is being refreshed.

The NXP NTAG I2C is compliant with the NFC Forum type-2 specification. It has two interfaces. The first, a passive wireless port, is accessed via an NFC interface.

The tag harvests energy from the wireless signal of the smartphone, which acts as the active reader. A second port gives system access via I2C when external power is provided to a USB connector. The tag has a configurable Field Detection Pin for triggering an external device, depending on the activities at the RF interface.

Engineers no longer need to rely on touchscreens or WiFi for wireless data transfer. Instead, they can use the Louvre board to build embedded applications that use NFC-enabled mobile devices as remote user interfaces.