Printed NFC for context-aware gameplay

March 17, 2015 // By Julien Happich
European companies Cartamundi, Van Genechten Packaging, PragmatIC, SMARTRAC, TNO and imec have joined forces to launch PING (Printed Intelligent NFC Game cards and packaging), a consortium to bring flexible electronics from the lab to mainstream markets through the creation of smart and interactive printed objects.

Inspired and supported by the Horizon 2020 program of the European Commission, the overall goal of the PING consortium is the creation of a platform that enables and facilitates the production of smart printed objects based on new technologies.

In effect, flexible thin-film electronics and NFC-capable printed materials such as cards, stickers and packaging could branch out the IoT functionalization of objects and enable new user interactions.

The collaboration intends to establish, within 3 years, a standardized low cost and high volume manufacturing flow for embedding wireless identification and power transfer technology into printed objects and printable substrates such as paper, cardboard or plastic.

The process will enable the identification and interaction of printed objects through standard NFC and RFID reading devices such as smartphones.

The project will also explore the integration of additional features such as sensors, displays and sound, not only adding internet connectivity to card and board games, but context-aware gameplay.

While Imec and TNO will focus on the development of a flexible thin-film technology and chip design, PragmatIC will work with both research centers to align developed designs with its own mass manufacturing processes. 

SMARTRAC will contribute its expertise in antenna design and printing technologies with a special focus on the connection interface between the printed antenna and TFT electronics. Cartamundi and Van Genechten Packaging will perform the last step of the supply chain: embedding the electronics in printed products.

Cartamundi, TNO and imec already started working together to establish the knowledge platform for integrated circuit (IC) design in thin-film technologies, targeting NFC chip as a minimum viable product demonstrator. With this background and the help of the new consortium partners, all consortium members will be able to bring these first realisations to the next level and to establish a complete and reliable supply chain for volume manufacturing.

More about the PING project at www.pingproject.eu

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