With the ubiquity of Bluetooth devices today, many of us tend to forget about the ‘other’ wireless technology, NFC, or Near-Field Communication. What NFC is, is a bit complex but basically, it’s something like Wi-Fi, but a hell of a lot simpler. With built-in chips, small devices can ‘communicate’ with others by transmitting information or commands, free of battery power and usually in mere seconds.
Ever see those keychain items that can be used to pay at gas stations? That’s NFC. Remember Android Beam? That too. It’s directly related to RFID (Radio-frequency Identification) but with technologies such as Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, both with more vast, superior capabilities, the attention on NFC in the recent world of consumer tech has been somewhat diminished.
But where other wireless services are focusing on a smartphone user’s wireless experience as a consumer, other small NFC-enthused tech companies are pushing the technology in a more personal direction. A project that really does a great job at representing this field of research is the Spanish Thirteenfiftysix startup team of developers, architects and engineers. These guys are cuckoo for NFC and their 13.56 wristband is an easy solution, providing a unified wireless method of handling many of our everyday smartphone tasks.
While wearing the band, just a quick tilt of the wrist can unlock a user’s phone, control privacy settings on file folders, hit ‘Snooze’ on an alarm, speed dial, transfer and receive contact information from other people, and navigate music playback — all orchestrated through an offline companion app.
As mentioned, the capabilities are simple but without a doubt, they’re handy. And double-greatness due to it’s minimal components and form factor: it’s battery-free. There’s never any need to emergency-charge your 13.56 up or leave it plugged in on your night table as you sleep each night. At 10-grams, 3mm wide and 1mm deep, and composed of aluminum and industrial polypropylene wrapped with soft natural rubber, the 13.56 can be comfortably left on all day and night.
As of this month, following a successful research and development period, a prototype is ready and the project has been brought to Kickstarter. Currently, they’re offering a slew of pledge benefits like special edition colors, t-shirts, custom name-plates and free shipping. It’ll ship in five sizes (S to XXL) and in four colors (not including the special Kickstarter green and other limited edition options,) expectedly by next-February.