Behind the scenes at chip firm NXP

Behind the scenes at chip firm NXP

Summary: Dutch semiconductor company NXP shows how its chips are being used in transport, medicine and smart metering during a tour of its research facility in Eindhoven

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TOPICS: Emerging Tech
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  • Normally, near-field magnetic induction communication relies on a transmitter modulating a magnetic field, which is then picked up and demodulated by a receiver. However, the devices pictured can transfer two voices simultaneously in two directions, allowing a stereo effect.

    In the devices, the two magnetic coils are tuned to resonate at a specific frequency, in this case 10.6MHz. The chip models the stereo sound on top of that frequency, according to Daemen.

     Daemen told ZDNet UK "The good thing is that [the devices] are low power, but they are limited in range."

    The devices operate on batteries between one and 1.4 volts over a frequency range of  7MHz to 15MHz.

  • This smart-bandage strip has sensors which make frequent measurements of pressure and humidity. The pressure of the bandage can be monitored to make sure it is not too loose or tight, while humidity readings can tell a clinician if a wound is bleeding or suppurating.

    The strip has two pressure sensors and one humidity sensor, plus a wireless link to a USB dongle. The dongle can be plugged into a computer to take readings from the sensors.

    The strip also contains a flexible printable battery, which means patients can move easily while wearing it.

    The readings can be taken offline, and then uploaded when a patient comes back in range of the dongle.

    At the time of writing, the strip was not a working prototype, but was due to be within a matter of days. The working prototype is the PCB pictured above the strip, which has a flexible antenna and pressure sensors.

  • NXPs MiFare chips are used in numerous RFID transport card systems around the world. The cryptography on its MiFare Classic chips was cracked by researchers from Radboud University last year, while working exploit code was published by a German researcher in October.

    NXP security architect Jan Brands told ZDNet UK that transport operators had been "worried" about the cracks, and had started to move up to other chips in the MiFare family.

    "Systems operators were worried about the security of MiFare Classic. The systems are made to be upgraded to provide better security," said Brands. "When access gates need to be upgraded, they can be upgraded so they accept MiFare Classic and MiFare Plus cards."

    The picture shows an upgrade system developed by NXP to demonstrate that transport operators can use both types of card with the same gate, by issuing MiFare Plus cards with MiFare Classic compatibility.

Topic: Emerging Tech

Tom Espiner

About Tom Espiner

Tom is a technology reporter for ZDNet.com. He covers the security beat, writing about everything from hacking and cybercrime to threats and mitigation. He also focuses on open source and emerging technologies, all the while trying to cut through greenwash.

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