These circular stickers are short-range radio devices that can communicate with devices within about 10 cm (4 in).
These tags work on a system of technologies called near-field communication (NFC), the same system that enables contactless payment systems. The hardware on the tag itself consists of a microchip to store data and an antenna for communication.
NFC technology allows these passive electronic tags to be powered by other devices using radio waves.
When an NFC-enabled device is near a tag, magnetic induction from the device’s antenna couples with that of the tag, which effectively forms an air-core transformer, energizing the tag and commencing communication.
By downloading an NFC writing app to your mobile device (such as NFC Tools), you can program these NFC tags to trigger a variety of tasks such as playing music and sharing contact information. If you have smart devices in your home, these tags can expand their capabilities.
The future will see wider use of NFC technology. In 2021, a new NFC capability was announced, enabling it to charge small devices wirelessly. Plus, implantable NFC chips have become a popular method of bio-hacking.