Sharing information with NFC enabled smartphones

Sharing information with NFC enabled smartphones

NFC or Near Field Communication is a narrow standard applied to specific kinds of passive RFID chips. In other words, all “NFC chips” are simply RFID chips, but not all RFID chips comply with the NFC standard. So when I say “NFC chip”, I just mean it’s an RFID chip that complies to the NFC standard.

The benefit of NFC is that it guarantees a reliable way for passive NFC chips to communicate data in a standardized way with NFC capable devices like smartphones and other NFC readers. All RFID chips have a serial number which typically cannot be changed (but some can!), and some chips have additional programmable memory blocks. This additional programmable memory is where NFC chips store the data to be shared with NFC readers.

NFC technology basics

All RFID chips which comply with NFC standards operate on HF or High Frequency (13.56MHz). This is an important detail to remember because we also have LF or Low Frequency (125kHz) chips which cannot be read or scanned by NFC devices or smartphones. Finally, because not all RFID chips are NFC compliant, we also have HF (13.56MHz) RFID chips which do not comply with NFC standards, but can in some cases still be read by certain NFC capable smartphones.

Reading NFC chips

The great news is, you don’t need any special app on your phone to read NFC data from an NFC chip, that is handled by the phone’s operating system. If you scan an NFC chip that has a website link on it, your phone will ask if you want to open the link. It’s as easy as that!

Programming NFC chips

To program an NFC chip with data you want to share, there are a number of different smartphone apps that can be used. Some popular options are TagWriter and NFC Tools. Both of these apps can easily program your NFC chips with sharable data like website links, contact information, plain text data, or even custom binary data and automation task triggers for apps like Tasker.

#TODO# video showing how to program chips with tagwriter or nfc tools on android and iphone

Popular NFC compliant chip implants

We have multiple chip implant products that are NFC compliant and can share data with smartphones. I will list our most popular options below with short descriptions. If you have not read the difference between x-series and flex products, you might want to check that out first, then come back to read about the products.

  • xNT - This is the original NFC implant, successfully crowdfunded in 2013. It is an entry level, inexpensive NFC implant which has an unchangeable (read only) serial number and can be programmed with a small amount of data (approx 873 bytes) good for sharing website links, social media profiles, youtube videos, contact details, etc.

  • flexNT - This is the flex version of the xNT. It has the same NFC chip inside as the xNT but performs better with NFC readers due to its shape and size.

  • NExT - This is our next generation dual chip implant. It contains the same NFC chip as the xNT and flexNT, however it also contains an additional T5577 chip inside a single implant. The T5577 has no programmable user memory, only a serial number. However, the advantage of the T5577 chip is that the serial number can be programmed to emulate different types of common low frequency access cards, key fobs, work badges, etc. using a special device called the Proxmark3. To learn more about that, check out this post about copying common cards and fobs.

  • xSIID - If you like to show off a bit of flash, the xSIID might be what you’re interested in. This chip implant has a similar kind of NFC chip inside as the xNT / NExT. In addition, it has a connected LED that lights up when the chip is being read by a reader. The LED comes in various colors too!

xsiid-youtube-compressed

In fact, this forum has a whole collection of community members who like showing off their blinkies.

All of our NFC compliant products

While the products listed above are our more popular NFC compliant chip implants, we have many NFC compliant products including wearables and other accessories. Here are all of our NFC compliant products.

We also have value bundles available that include multiple implants as well as compatible hardware like our KBR1 and Proxmark3 devices.

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