NFC/FRAM/MCU transponder for industrial, medical, and wearable designs

December 15, 2014 // By Graham Prophet
Texas Instruments’ fully programmable ISO 15693-compliant 13.56 MHz sensor transponder integrates a low-power microcontroller and non-volatile FRAM.

Positioned as the first flexible high frequency 13.56 MHz sensor transponder family, TI's highly integrated ultra-low-power RF430FRL15xH system-on-chip (SoC) family combines an ISO 15693-compliant Near Field Communication (NFC) interface with a programmable microcontroller (MCU), non-volatile FRAM, an analogue-to-digital converter (ADC) and SPI or I²C interface. The dual-interface RF430FRL15xH NFC sensor transponder is optimised for use in fully passive (battery-less) or semi-active modes to achieve extended battery life in a wide range of consumer wearables, industrial, medical and asset tracking applications.

Non-volatile FRAM combines the speed, flexibility and endurance of SRAM with the stability and reliability of flash – while providing lowest power consumption and virtually unlimited write cycles. The device enables product designs an analogue or digital interface, data-logging capabilities and data transfers to an NFC-enabled reader. The RF430FRL15xH transponder acts as a sensor node for these applications and generates an IoT-ready solution when an NFC-enabled device pushes the data to the cloud.

The RF430FRL15xH enables the design of maintenance-free and hermetically sealed galvanic isolated sensor systems in the industrial markets. These sensors are powered by the RF field and communicate wirelessly through NFC to collect and log data. In medical or health and fitness applications, the RF430FRL15xH can be used in disposable patches that sense parameters such as temperature or hydration. The device monitors and logs data in local storage (FRAM) before transferring it to an NFC-enabled tablet or smartphone.

Logistics applications such as food tracking need constant temperature control, which can be monitored and logged with the RF430FRL15xH transponder. It allows the design of highly integrated, size-optimized and easy-to-use data loggers with several sensors that connect to NFC-enabled devices and readers throughout the distribution channel.

The RF430FRL152HEVM evaluation module will be supported with an educational webinar. The evaluation board can be powered with a battery, USB or by harvesting RF energy from a nearby NFC-enabled reader or smartphone. For further expansion, the evaluation board is compatible with a