Sep 06, 2023

Industry Body Calls on Product Designers to Accelerate Use of NFC Wireless Charging

Adoption of the technology set to transform how small devices are designed, powered and used

6 September 2023NFC Forum, the leading standards body for Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, has launched a dedicated educational campaign encouraging product designers to build on the existing Near Field Communication (NFC) technology commonly found in devices, such as a smartphone, to offer wireless charging capabilities. Making use of NFC chipsets and antennas delivers convenient power transfer without the need for separate wireless charging units helping product designers simplify their design, streamline development and reduce costs, while accelerating time-to-market.

The NFC Wireless Charging Standard is a complementary specification to Qi from the Wireless Power Consortium. While Qi offers wireless charging for mid-sized devices such as smartphones, NFC offers this same wireless charging functionality for smaller, battery-powered personal and IoT devices. For example, a smartphone can be used to transfer power to smaller supporting devices such as wireless earbuds, smart watches, digital styluses, headsets and fitness trackers. It currently offers induction charging up to 1 watt over a distance of up to 2 cm, with work underway to advance both the watts and range.

Through a dedicated educational campaign, the standards body is showcasing:

  • Why optimising a single component to serve multiple purposes delivers technical efficiencies. For example, an NFC antenna can be used for transferring data, making payments, delivering wireless charging and enabling power harvesting.  
  • The ability to offer wireless charging without compromising a product’s aesthetic design, as NFC chipsets are thin and have a diameter of just 14 mm.  
  • How the high frequency capabilities of NFC technology deliver strong performance regardless of how the device being charged is positioned.
  • The benefits of eliminating cords / plugs to enable the creation of completely airtight products, as well as reduce electronic waste of batteries, copper cables and chargers.
  • The new innovative use cases that are coming to market to advance contactless lifestyles.

Mike McCamon, Executive Director of NFC Forum, explains: “NFC Forum’s industry leading members believe NFC Wireless Charging is changing the way we design and interact with small, battery-powered devices. We are working as a community to bring all stakeholders together – from silicon vendors and OEMs to application developers and implementers – to create a collaborative and innovative technological ecosystem which creates solutions that are more accessible, efficient, and beneficial for everyone.

“By broadening exposure to product designers in all industries with this educational program, our aim is to ensure that NFC wireless charging becomes the de facto standard for powering small IoT / consumer devices up to 3 watts. This would mean that a headset which already includes NFC technology for pairing could potentially also use the NFC interface for wireless charging. The NFC antenna can be used to exchange both the pairing information and to transfer power.”

The NFC Forum Wireless Charging Standard was first released in May 2020, with version 2.0 released in October 2021 to support smaller antenna sizes – expanding the range of devices that can be wirelessly charged. The proven standard is support by a testing and certification program then once the requirements are met, the NFC Forum Charging Wayfinding mark can be added to a product.

Read more about Wireless Charging.