Multiple antennas, time-division communication
The second technology is "position free technology," which spreads the antenna on the entire screen of a large-size display. It divides the screen into multiple areas, places an NFC antenna in each area and switches among them. In other words, communications are done by using multiple antennas on the screen in a time-sharing manner.
As a result, it becomes possible to know which antenna (on the screen) is being used for communication. Though its positional accuracy is not high, it functions as a touch panel in a sense.
According to Sharp, the position free technology realizes a more intuitive user experience and reduces the area of display device, compared with cases in which an external NFC card reader is used or a reader is embedded in only part of a display.
Sharp plans to commercialize the technology in fiscal 2020. It can also be applied to existing touch panels, the company said.
Selection of product, payment happen at same time
Sharp expects to use the new technology for several applications. For example, it enables to select a product and make a payment at the same time by holding an NFC-capable smartphone near the image of the product shown on a display at a retail store, vending machine and home.
Also, when an NFC-capable playing card or wine bottle is placed on a display, it explains the rules of the game or the details of the wine. Furthermore, it becomes possible to provide information based on the authenticated ID of the user on a display for guidance at a shopping mall, hospital, etc.
Sharp plans to make the technology support displays larger than 42 inches. If such displays become widely used, online shopping and TV shopping using NFC might drastically spread.