ams launches NFC Sensor Interface for Industrial IoT

ams has released the AS3956, a dynamic NFC sensor tag IC which has been designed to meet industrial-grade quality standards and provide very high reliability in mission-critical applications and in products with a long operating lifetime.

The AS3956 dynamic tag acts as a contactless bridge between sensors and any NFC reader, such as a smartphone, through a host microcontroller. It supports the NDEF messaging protocol in full compliance with NFC Forum recommendations, guaranteeing interoperability with any NFC phones, including Apple iOS devices.

The AS3956 is intended for industrial and Internet of Things (IoT) applications exposed to harsh operating conditions, including extreme temperatures ranging from -40°C to 125°C; products requiring an extended operating lifetime, such as HVAC equipment, hearing aids, and wireless sensors for infrastructure such as roads, bridges and utilities.

The device’s internal EEPROM memory is rated for a minimum 100,000 program/erase cycles, and offers 10 years’ data retention at 125°C; mission-critical products that require a zero failure rate.

The AS3956 also includes various features that give the designer greater flexibility in implementing NFC-based applications. These include the provision of both an I2C and an SPI interface to a host microcontroller, and a wide supply voltage range of 1.65V-5.5V.

In basic operation, the AS3956 acts as a stand-alone Type 2 tag conforming to the NFC Forum standards and supporting NFC communication with a reader. In addition, either of two data-transfer modes for host controller communication can be selected: extended Mode, a self-timed data transfer mechanism using standard Type 2 tag commands, thus minimising software overhead on the host controller; tunnelling Mode to implement ISO14443A Level 4 PICC emulation in line with EMVCo requirements or custom protocols

The AS3956 includes an energy-harvesting capability, drawing energy from the incoming RF field generated by an NFC reader, and supplying up to 5mA to an external device.

ams also provides the AS3956 in a miniature chip-scale package (CSP) just 0.3mm high, and with a 1.8mm x 1.4mm footprint as well as in a 3mm x 3mm MLPD package.

A demonstration kit is available from the ams ICdirect online store. For sample requests or for more technical information, go to

Neil Tyler