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Your future smart lock can do away with the battery by drawing power from your phone

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Your employee badge won’t ever need a new coin cell since the badge scanner wirelessly broadcasts enough power to the badge to validate its legitimacy. This is one of the amazing aspects of near-field communication technology (NFC). The same idea is now being sought after by chipmaker Infineon for smart locks that can run fully on a phone.

Fancy door locks and inexpensive padlocks that work are already available in Europe and China, with Finland’s iLOQ claiming to have done it first back in 2016. But as of right now, Infineon is giving a new chip for sale along with complete, detailed instructions (PDF) to anyone interested in the concept.

Its name is NAC1080, and it’s made to be a single chip that can perform almost everything. It has circuitry that can identify your NFC phone, harness its power, and run the motor in the smart lock. Additionally, it has a 32-bit ARM Cortex M0 CPU and internal security mechanisms that confirm that only you and your phone are authorized to open and close the lock in question. And you can do all of that while your phone is only partially charged.

The antenna, 3V mini-motor, and capacitors that serve as the battery’s replacement must all come from the manufacturer. Locks like these require a tiny charge to build up before they can power a motor, but based on the example unlocking you can see above, it appears that we’re talking about a few seconds.

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Andrew Sabastian is a tech whiz who is obsessed with everything technology. Basically, he's a software and tech mastermind who likes to feed readers gritty tech news to keep their techie intellects nourished.