Chapter 2. NFC and RFID

Radio frequency identification (RFID) is becoming commonplace in everyday life these days. From tap-and-go payment cards and transit passes to E-ZPass devices used on toll roads to the tags stuck on and sewn into consumer goods to manage inventory and deter theft, most of us encounter RFID tags at least a few times a week and never think about what can be done with this technology.

In the past few years, a new term has started to bubble up in connection with RFID: near field communication (NFC). Ask your average techie what it is and you’ll probably hear “Oh, it’s like RFID, only different.” Great, but how is it different? RFID and NFC are often conflated, but they’re not the same thing. Though NFC readers can read from and write to some RFID tags, NFC has more capabilities than RFID, and enables a greater range of uses. You can think of NFC as an extension of RFID, building on a few of the many RFID standards to create a wider data exchange platform.

This book aims to introduce you to NFC and its capabilities in a hands-on way. Following the exercises in these chapters, you’ll build a few NFC applications for an NFC-enabled Android device and for an Arduino microcontroller. You’ll learn where RFID and NFC overlap, and what you can do with NFC.

What’s RFID?

Imagine you’re sitting on your porch at night. You turn on the porch light, and you can see your neighbor as he passes close to your house because the light reflects off him back to your eyes. That’s passive ...

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