NFC Tag Embedded Smart Textiles

Last Updated on 15/01/2021

NFC Tag Embedded Smart Textiles

Mr. Sajid Shabbir Mulla
Department of Textile Engineering
Jawaharlal Darda Institute of Engineering and Technology, Yavatmal


The whole world is changing day by day. The people are searching for new things everyday as a fashion. The Internet has made the day-to-day life less complicated, in which Internet of things where various devices and systems are connected, new dimensions to service will be unleashed due to this motivation thereby improving the quality of livelihood though IOT has made its way to all major and minor industries but yet IOT has not marked its touch to Textiles. The proposed technology is Interactive clothing by making use of NFC tags. These tags embedded into the garment which has a unique ID, which can be scanned by a mobile phone and gets linked with the database stored in it. It provides digital environment for both the manufacturer and end users. The system has a potential to identify cheap replicas, keep a track to its loyal customers, minimize the wastage of resources by eliminating the price tags and as for the customer the benefits are immense, the application possess simple user interface where users can advise on matching their cloths with other outfits, dressing according to the seasons, facilitating dry cleaning process etc. There are huge numbers of uses of these new technology or system that we studied under this paper.

KEYWORDS: IOT, Textiles, NFC TAG, Scan, Database, Simple Interface.

Clothing is one of the three basic human needs. Since a long time textile is used in different forms such as sail cloth, tent, protective garments, ropes etc., basically these were all technical textiles and were mainly used for their technical performance. Smart textiles are intelligent textile structures or fabrics that can sense and react to environmental stimuli, which may be mechanical, thermal, chemical, biological, and magnetic amongst others. Textiles that can think for themselves! The idea itself is very progressive and in reality such textiles are a fact technically possible today and commercially viable tomorrow. The functional activity of these materials is an important aspect. However, there is no agreement about the definition of “smart.” Among other better-known terms for the same purposes are adaptive, intelligent, interactive, responsive, connected, and multifunctional.

Smart textiles benefit from intrinsic properties of textiles such as flexibility to conform to the body, comfort to touch, softness, wearability, and the familiarity of the textile. Smart textiles present a challenge in several fields such as sport, artistic communities, medical, security and safety, railway, automotive, and aerospace. The term “smart textile” refers to a broad field of studies and products that extend the functionality and usefulness of common fabrics. Smart textiles are defined also as textile products such as fibers and filaments, yarns together with woven, knitted or nonwoven structures, which can interact with the environment/user. Electronic or smart textiles, such as heat and light sensitive products, were initially developed as intelligent or smart clothing for the sportswear market, and created fabrics for products that were designed to embed computing or digital components. Advances in e-textiles, and emerging smart-textile electronics and the microencapsulation technique enable thermal responsive clothing products.

NFC tag onclothing
Fig: NFC tag onclothing

NFC is rooted in radio-frequency identification technology (known as RFID) which allows compatible hardware to both supply power to and communicate with an otherwise unpowered and passive electronic tag using radio waves. This is used for identification, authentication and tracking.

  1. May 17, 1983 – The first patent to be associated with the abbreviation “RFID” was granted to Charles Walton.
  2. 1997 – Early form patented and first used in Star Wars character toys for Hasbro. The patent was originally held by Andrew White and Marc Borrett at Innovision Research and Technology (Patent WO9723060). The device allowed data communication between two units in close proximity.
  3. March 25, 2002 – Sony and Philips agreed to establish a technology specification and created a technical outline.
  4. December 8, 2003 – NFC was approved as an ISO/IEC standard and later as an ECMA standard.
  5. 2004 – Nokia, Philips and Sony established the NFC Forum
  6. 2004 – Nokia launch NFC shell add-on for Nokia 5140 and later Nokia 3220 models, to be shipped in 2005.
  7. 2006 – Initial specifications for NFC Tags.
  8. 2006 – Specification for “Smart Poster” records.
  9. 2007 – Innovision’s NFC tags used in the first consumer trial in the UK, in the Nokia 6131 handset.
  10. 2009 – In January, NFC Forum released Peer-to-Peer standards to transfer contacts, URLs, initiate Bluetooth, etc.
  11. 2010 – Innovision released a suite of designs and patents for low cost, mass-market mobile phones and other devices.
  12. 2010 – Nokia C7: First Symbian NFC phone announced. NFC feature was enabled by software update in 2011.
  13. 2010 – Samsung Nexus S: First Android NFC phone shown.
  14. 2010 – Nice, France launches the “Nice City of contactless mobile” project, providing inhabitants with NFC mobile phones and bank cards, and a “bouquet of services” covering transportation, tourism and student’s services
  15. 2011 – Google I/O “How to NFC” demonstrates NFC to initiate a game and to share a contact, URL, app or video.
  16. 2011 – NFC support becomes part of the Symbian mobile operating system with the release of Symbian Anna version.
  17. 2011 – Research In Motion devices are the first ones certified by MasterCard Worldwide for their Pay Pass service.
  18. 2012 – UK restaurant chain EAT and Everything Everywhere (Orange Mobile Network Operator), partner on the UK’s first nationwide NFC-enabled smart poster campaign. A specially created mobile phone app is triggered when the NFC-enabled mobile phone comes into contact with the smart poster.
  19. 2012 – Sony introduced NFC “Smart Tags” to change modes and profiles on a Sony smartphone at close range, included with the Sony Xperia P Smartphone released the same year.
  20. 2013 – Samsung and VISA announce their partnership to develop mobile payments.
  21. 2013 – IBM scientists, in an effort to curb fraud and security breaches, develop an NFC-based mobile authentication security technology. This technology works on similar principles to dual-factor authentication security.
  22. 2014 – AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile released Soft card (formally ISIS mobile wallet). It runs on NFC-enabled Android phones and iPhone 4 and iPhone 5 when an external NFC case is attached. The technology was purchased by Google and the service ended on March 31, 2015.
  23. November 2015 – Swatch and Visa Inc. announced a partnership to enable NFC financial transactions using the “Swatch Bellamy” wristwatch. The system is currently online in Asia, through a partnership with China Union Pay and Bank of Communications. The partnership will bring the technology to the US, Brazil, and Switzerland.
  24. November 2015 – Google’s Android Pay function was launched, a direct rival to Apple Pay, and its roll-out across the US commenced.

NFC devices are used in contactless payment systems, similar to those used in credit cards and electronic ticket smart cards and allow mobile payment to replace or supplement these systems. This is sometimes referred to as NFC. NFC is used for social networking, for sharing contacts, photos, videos or files. NFC-enabled devices can act as electronic identity documents and keycards. NFC offers a low-speed connection with simple setup that can be used to bootstrap more capable wireless connections. NFC tags are passive data stores which can be read, and under some circumstances written to, by an NFC device. They typically contain data (as of 2015 between 96 and 8,192 bytes) and are read-only in normal use, but may be rewritable. Applications include secure personal data storage.

NFC tags can be custom-encoded by their manufacturers or use the industry specifications. The standards were provided by the NFC Forum. The forum was responsible for promoting the technology and setting standards and certifies device compliance. Secure communications are available by applying encryption algorithms as is done for credit cards and if they fit the criteria for being considered a personal area network. Present and anticipated applications include contactless transactions, data exchange and simplified setup of more complex communications such as Wi-Fi. NFC tags contain data and are typically read-only, but may be writable. They can be custom-encoded by their manufacturers or use NFC Forum specifications. The tags can securely store personal data such as debit and credit card information, loyalty program data, PINs and networking contacts, among other information. The NFC Forum defines four types of tags that provide different communication speeds and capabilities in terms of configurability, memory, security, data retention and write endurance. Tags currently offer between 96 and 4,096 bytes of memory.

The initiator device provides a carrier field and the target device, acting as a transponder, communicates by modulating the incident field. In this mode, the target device may draw its operating power from the initiator-provided magnetic field.

Both initiator and target device communicate by alternately generating their own fields. A device stops transmitting in order to receive data from the other. This mode requires that both devices include power supplies.

Now that we know what NFC is, how does it work? Just like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, and all manner of other wireless signals, NFC works on the principle of sending information over radio waves. Near Field Communication is another standard for wireless data transitions. This means that devices must adhere to certain specifications in order to communicate with each other properly. The technology used in NFC is based on older RFID (Radio-frequency identification) ideas, which used electromagnetic induction in order to transmit information.

nfc tag working
Fig: NFC tag working mechanism

This marks the one major difference between NFC and Bluetooth/Wi-Fi. The former can be used to induce electric currents within passive components as well as just send data. This means that passive devices don’t require their own power supply. They can instead be powered by the electromagnetic field produced by an active NFC component when it comes into range. Unfortunately, NFC technology does not command enough inductance to charge our smartphones, but QI wireless charging is based on the same principle. The transmission frequency for data across NFC is 13.56 Mhz. You can send data at either 106, 212, or 424 kb per second. That’s is quick enough for a range of data transfers from contact details to swapping pictures and music. To determine what sort of information will be exchanged between devices, the NFC standard currently has three distinct modes of operation. Perhaps the most common use in smartphones is the peer-to-peer mode. This allows two NFC-enabled devices to exchange various pieces of information between each other. In this mode, both devices switch between active when sending data and passive when receiving Read/write mode, on the other hand, is one-way data transmission. The active device, possibly your smartphone, links up with another device in order to read information from it. NFC advert tags use this mode.


  1. Authentication & anti-counterfeiting: With NFC and mobile authentication services, consumers can be certain they’re buying genuine jewelry, watches, handbags, and other valuable products.
  2. Context-sensitive digital content: NFC can provide digital content and services related to wearable’s, based on real-time shopping needs, to motivate on-the-spot sales, or even information more directly related to the wearable. Recommendations for other items that complement the outfit or product can also create cross-selling opportunities.
  3. After-sales service: NFC can enhance the user experience eve after the purchase by tapping to a tag on a wearable. Access to customer care, exclusive brand applications, and tools are convenient to the customer, and even the store by providing personalized rewards that help foster brand loyalty and repurchases.
  4. Customer intelligence: By tapping a wearable like smart watch or bracelet to a piece of machinery at the gym, customers can become more informed about their workout seamlessly and more accurately.

Imagine you’ve just purchased a new jacket from your favorite brand. You put it on for the first time, and scan a tag embedded in the sleeve with your phone. A menu of options pops up. You can find information about the jacket’s design, how the brand selected only sustainable materials, and details on the exact factory where the product was made. You plug in your earphones and listen to a playlist the brand put together. Later in the week, you head to a party that the label is throwing to celebrate its latest collection, and the bouncer scans your RFID, (like the radio-frequency identification tags in key fobs or prepaid toll devices), which functions as your ticket. Somebody spills a drink on your new jacket of course so the next day, you throw it in the wash. It automatically communicates with your washing machine to select the right laundry setting.

Smart clothing relies on an interface to connect the items (and their wearers) to the connected world through the Internet. That interface device needs to carry unique product identification, and it needs to be secured from unlawful duplication itself. It also must be able to reliably keep the customer apprised of anything the product brand manufacturer wants them to know about. Further, the device must not require any power supply, but it must be able to communicate wirelessly with other devices. The present tool that allows all of this is the NFC (Near Field Communications) chip, which allows all of the required functionality to exist. While most NFC chips in production today are not waterproof, there are a small number of manufacturers that make them in waterproof options, and as the smart clothing industry accelerates, the demand for such chips is expected to increase. These “chips” are usually physically flexible, and they are very small and easily hidden without making much of any alteration to the typical processes of clothing manufacture.

Water and computer components do not play well together, and any traditional hardware that is embedded in clothing would require removal from that clothing or else the first time in the washing machine would be the last communication that item of clothing executes with the outside world. One solution to this problem is to facilitate easy removal of the electronic component, but this creates the problem of not truly having smart clothing, especially if the owner loses the component. The better solution is for the NFC device to be waterproof, as well as able to withstand great temperatures, such as in hot water or hot air in a dryer. Have NFC makers risen to this challenge? Yes they have. Shop NFC offers a tag that is wearable and resistant to temperatures of a staggering 150C, which well above the boiling point of water. The only stretchable NFC tag that can be sewn, ironed, bent and crumpled. Completely waterproof, resistant up to 150°C. Universal compatibility.


  • 1 billion NFC Phones were installed at the base end of 2015.
  • 5 billion NFC handset was shipped up to 2019 throughout the whole world.
  • 2 billion NFC card and tags per year were manufactured.
  • 15 to 20 % clothing and textiles are NFC tagged and sold.

Today’s customer is a smart customer while purchasing any textile material it needs to be having all the information. To do so NFC tags where mounted on textile cloth. So for the advancement in smart fabrics that are to be made so NFC does fulfill of the requirement all the information that tag should posses so that related information about the particular textiles. There will be various problems regarding its service issues in future about the textile so to resolve that problems NFC technology can be more effective and useful.


  7. Zhang and X. Tao, Smart textiles: Passive smart, Textile Asia, pp. 45-49, June 2001, Smart textiles: Very Smart, Textile Asia, pp. 35-37, August 2001.
  8. Textile institute, Smart Fibers, Fabrics and Clothing (Tao, X. Ed.), Florida: CRC Press, 2001.

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