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ST, Ams team up to deliver secure wearable reference design

Posted: 09 Mar 2016     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:STMicroelectronics  ams  NFC controller  wearable  IoT 

Ams AG and STMicroelectronics have announced that ARM is using the companies' NFC solution to provide the secure, high-performance NFC and MCU functionality in its latest wearable reference design.

The NFC solution developed jointly by ST and Ams is composed of the ST54E from ST, a System-in-Package featuring an NFC controller (NFCC) and a Secure Element compliant with the Global Platform standard v2.2, and Ams' AS39230 NFC analogue front end (AFE) with boostedNFC technology.

This NFC solution is particularly well suited to very small, battery-powered products such as wearable devices and smartphones.

The Ams boostedNFC technology overcomes the difficulties that conventional NFC devices face when attempting to operate via a tiny antenna in an environment hostile to RF transmissions. The Ams/ST solution exceeds the EMVCo requirements for RF performance in contactless payments, even when operating through an antenna smaller than 100mm2.

Ams/ST wearable solution

The ST SiP provides comprehensive support for all important NFC security standards worldwide, ensuring that the ARM mbed Wearable Reference Design can support secure transaction types required in Internet of Things (IoT) applications, including but not limited to contactless payments, automatic fare collection and access control.

The joint Ams/ST solution achieves very low average power consumption, helping to extend battery run-time between charges, thanks to fully configurable power cycling of both the boostedNFC front end and the NFCC

The mbed Wearable Reference Design provides a model that wearable device OEMs can quickly replicate to achieve high-performance NFC card emulation. The joint Ams/ST solution is particularly easy for system designers to work with, since it is supplied with a complete NFC software stack developed by ST. This stack is compatible with ARM's mbed IoT Device Platform.

In addition, the high RF performance of the Ams/ST solution ensures robust NFC functioning even in the most demanding operating environments. The NFC system draws on unique capabilities in the Ams AS39230, which implements active load modulation. This boosts the NFC front end's transmission signal to achieve an 'operating volume,' the space in which the wearable reference design can couple with an NFC reader, comparable to or exceeding that of a contactless card, which will typically have an antenna that is some 40 times bigger. The solution provided by ST and Ams is also optimised for the mbed wearable reference design's antenna, giving high immunity to interference from the wearable reference design's Bluetooth and GPS radios.

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