Holst Centre, imec and CARTAMUNDI collaborate on NFC chip of the future
The partners will develop these NFC tags using metal-oxide (IGZO) thin-film transistor (TFT) technology on plastic film. The flexible chips will be integrated into game cards as a part of Cartamundi’s larger strategy of developing game cards for the connected generation.
Holst Centre, imec and Cartamundi engineers will look into NFC circuit design and TFT processing options, and will investigate routes for up-scaling of the production. By realizing the NFC tags using chips based on IGZO TFT technology on plastic film, the manufacturing cost can be kept low. Moreover, the ultra-thin and flexible form factor required for paper-embedded NFC applications can be realized.
Currently, Cartamundi embeds silicon-based NFC chips in their game cards, connecting traditional game play with electronic devices such as smartphones and tablets. The advanced IGZO TFT technology that will be used addresses the game card industry call for much thinner, more flexible and virtually unbreakable NFC chips. Such chips are essential to improve and broaden the applicability of interactive technology for game cards, compared to the currently-used silicon based NFC chips. Next to technical specifications, this next-generation of NFC tags will better balance manufacturing cost and additional functionalities.
Chris Van Doorslaer, CEO of Cartamundi, explains: “Cartamundi is committed to creating products that connect families and friends of every generation to enhance the valuable quality time they share during the day. With Holst Centre’s and imec’s thin-film and nano-electronics expertise, we’re connecting the physical with the digital which will enable lightweight smart devices with additional value and content for consumers.”
“Not only will Cartamundi be working on the NFC chip of the future, but it will also reinvent the industry’s standards in assembly process and the conversion into game cards,” says Steven Nietvelt, chief innovation and marketing officer at Cartamundi.