Build Battery-Free Smart Locks With NFC Energy Harvesting Technology

A single-chip, highly integrated solution for designers of mobile phone-controlled smart lock systems.


Today, battery-powered smart locks with shared access capabilities have become increasingly popular in both consumer and industrial access control applications. However, battery-related issues frequently arise in many use cases. For outdoor applications, fluctuating temperatures and extremes can significantly reduce battery life. Indoor applications, on the other hand, can incur high battery replacement costs particularly when dealing with a large number of locks. Additionally, safety concerns in industries such as oil, gas, mining, and aviation prohibit the use of lithium (Li) batteries. Eliminating the need for batteries in smart lock applications can be achieved through energy-harvesting technologies. However, choosing the right technology can be challenging when it comes to ensuring 24/7 serviceability. Photovoltaic technology, for instance, relies on the availability of sunlight. Piezoelectric and thermoelectric technologies, on the other hand, deliver power in the µW range, which means that the required harvesting time for 24/7 serviceability is too long. To address these issues, a Near-Field Communication (NFC) energy-harvesting solution was chosen for two reasons: NFC technology is widely available on mobile phones, making it a practical choice for users. NFC energy harvesting can provide the necessary milliwatt range of power needed to ensure serviceability. Infineon’s latest solution for NFC locks can harvest 20 to 50 mW from the NFC field, depending on the type of mobile phone in use. The single-chip, highly integrated solution provides designers with the flexibility to create miniaturized, battery-free, mobile phone-controlled smart lock systems.

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