Paving the way to doing away with keys for smart locks

26-07-2022 | Infineon | New Technologies

Infineon Technologies AG is launching a solution to open and close locks with a mobile phone with no batteries in the lock. The application gets the power it requires contactlessly from the mobile phone. This is also referred to as energy harvesting.

“Infineon is paving the way with the new solution for doing away with keys,” says Adam White, division president Power and Sensor Systems at Infineon. “By dispensing with batteries, we are providing, for the first time, a reliable, low-maintenance and secure way of opening and closing smart locks.”

The company says that it will also put the solution for contactless energy transfer to use in other applications. “Our solution for contactless use of energy saves resources due to the lack of batteries. In addition, it will enable new applications in which the use of batteries was previously too complex or too cost-intensive,” says White. One example is to measure parameters that are challenging to access, such as a NFC passive tyre pressure sensor for bicycles.

To activate the lock, the mobile phone is held directly on it. NFC is employed to check whether the device is also actually authorised to open the lock. This is where encryption technology comes in. At the same time, energy is transferred contactlessly to a capacitor to open or close the lock.

The core of the solution is the programmable 32-bit ARM Cortex-M0 microcontroller with a built-in NFC frontend. With integrated power generation and a H-bridge, the NAC1080 allows customers to launch miniaturised smart locks on the market with very few components. It has an extra integrated AES128 accelerator and a true random number generator to enable data encryption and decryption with exceptionally low power consumption.

The company's technology is ideal for locks requiring little mechanical effort, such as in office furniture, hospitals and fitness studios. Other possible applications are mailboxes, bicycle locks and parcel boxes. The solution, therefore, offers greater convenience and flexibility, while at the same time reducing the costs for key management in private and commercial properties.

The new solution can, however, also be employed in complex locking systems including front doors. It steps in as an emergency solution when batteries in standard smart locks are out of power, or when keys are lost. Although the response time for more complex door locks takes longer, it does dispense with needing to rely on an expensive locksmith service.

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