Korean scientists develop tech that could change the economics of contactless comms.
Academics at South Korea's Sunchon National University and Paru Printed Electronics Research Institute have found a way to print NFC tags for less that one cent a pop.
The tech combines the two elements of NFC – the rectifier and the antenna – into one 'rectenna'. This can harness power given off by the smartphone's radio waves, converting AC into DC, and sending information back to it via printed digital circuits.
"What is great about this technique is that we can also print the digital information onto the rectenna, meaning that everything you need for wireless communication is in one place," said co-author of the study Gyoujin Cho.
"Our advantage over current technology is lower cost, since we can produce a roll-to-roll printing process with high throughput in an environmentally friendly manner. Furthermore, we can integrate many extra functions without huge extra cost in the printing process."
It's a dramatic breakthrough and could have major implications for the use of NFC tags in everyday objects. But 1c is still a huge premium on a simple printed QR code, which costs around 0.0008c.
Clearly, the two techs will develop different use cases.