NFC simplifies Smart home wireless energy harvesting

10th January 2014
Nat Bowers

At the 2014 International CES, NXP has demonstrated a wireless smart lighting network offering easy installation in the home. With an energy harvesting switch (featuring no battery and no wires) from EnOcean, the demonstration network uses the NXP JN5161 wireless microcontroller and implements the ZigBee Green Power feature.

Taking full advantage of NFC technology, EnOcean's energy harvesting switch can be added to a home network simply by tapping an NFC-equipped smartphone on the gateway to collect important network parameters. The smartphone is then used to pass them on to the switch. The NXP-designed gateway plugs into the home router via an Ethernet port to connect devices using ZigBee (ZigBee Light Link or ZigBee Home Automation) or JenNet-IP to the Internet via an existing home WiFi router. Controlled via an Android smartphone, wireless colour LEDs and tunable white dimmable LED lamps can also be added to the network using NFC. A video of the demonstartion from 2014 CES is available below.

Based on the JN5168 wireless microcontroller, the reference design for the 802.15.4 to Ethernet bridge is available now. Offering very high brightness and colour saturation, the RGB and tunable white LEDs utilise NXP’s patented sensorless sensing technology.

Thomas Lorbach, Marketing Manager, RF connectivity solutions product line, NXP Semiconductors, commented: “Wireless smart light bulbs are now available from major retailers in the US. The challenge now is to ensure that setting up and expanding a wireless smart lighting network is as painless as possible for the everyday home user. NFC provides a quick, secure and easy way to add new devices to home networks and to the broader ‘Internet of Things.’ We’re excited to be working with EnOcean and other partners in fine-tuning the overall user experience – and ultimately helping consumers to control their lighting and energy use more effectively.”

“We are very proud to partner with NXP, one of the world leading semiconductor companies, in exploring further energy harvesting wireless sensor solutions. It’s great to see how our joint technological forces result in next generation solutions that bring energy harvesting wireless possibilities and benefits to the specific requirements of the consumer market. Very quickly, we were able to develop a battery-less wireless switch module prototype for the first time operating a 2.4GHz radio and NFC powered by energy harvesting. Such new technologies add to EnOcean’s more than 12 years of experience in energy harvesting, ultra-low power wireless communication and energy management thus enabling easy installation and exciting new use cases for our sensor solutions,” comments Matthias Poppel, Chief Operation Officer, EnOcean.

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