Researchers in Korea have devised a cheap way of transmitting data from objects to mobile phones when swiped with the use of Near Field Communication, which is already used in some devices allowing shoppers to make card payments by touch.
The researchers from Sunchon National University and the Paru Printed Electronics Research Institute have printed small rectennas (a cross between an antenna and an AD/DC current converter) onto plastic foils using electronic inks that use radio waves emitted a smartphone to transmit data to it from a tiny chip.
“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,” co-author of the study Gyoujin Cho told the IoP.
The advantage of the rectenna over current technology is lower cost, since the research team produced a roll-to-roll printing process with high throughput in an environmentally friendly manner. Additionally, they can integrate many extra functions without huge extra cost in the printing process.
The printed rectennas cost less than one penny per unit to produce and could be used as an alternative to QR codes. In general, QR codes are rather limited in terms of usage. They can only be used for one thing at a time and can only contain so much data.
The rectennas will make their debut in the journal Nanotechnology, published by the Institute of Physics (IoP) this month.