Hidden in plain sight

  • TECH
  • Tuesday, 14 May 2013

NFC toys: Skylanders toys together with the Portal of Power

NFC technology is most prevalent in smartphones but it is also being implemented in an increasing number of products, from toys to HDTVs.

Here’s a list of products with built-in NFC which you may already have in your home.

HDTVs and cameras

Most new HDTVs come with the chip but it’s not always in the TV itself. Sony is one of the companies that has integrated it into the remote control of selected Bravia HDTVs.

Just by tapping the remote with your smarthone will allow you to mirror the smartphone’s display on the big screen. This will allow you to browse the Web, share pictures and watch videos together with those around you.

If your Bravia doesn’t come with one, you can still purchase the remote separately.

Sony also makes speakers with NFC. One such model is the SRS-BTV5 wireless speaker. The compact model can double up as a speakerphone and has a rated battery life of up to five hours. Meanwhile, on the camera front, Samsung’s NX300 allows photographers to easily transfer images to a smartphone or tablet via NFC.

Panasonic’s DMC-GF6 camera also uses NFC for sharing images with a smartphone or tablet by touching them together. As soon as a photo is shot, the camera will send the image to the paired device. NFC also allows the camera to be remotely controlled.

Consoles and toys

One of the most popular toys on the market today is Activision’s Skylanders. They are essentially figurines that are released in conjunction with the Skylanders games available for most consoles such as the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

The game comes with an NFC device called the Portal of Power which is plugged into the game console. When a figurine, which also comes with built-in NFC, is placed on the Portal, a virtual version of the character appears in the game.

The interesting thing about the NFC in Skylanders is that it actually can store a limited amount of information, specifically the character’s bio. When the figurine is taken to a friend’s house to play, it will have all the levelled-up powers and customisation.

Of the popular videogame consoles, only one features NFC.

The chip is currently integrated into the Wii U’s GamePad controller, and while it holds a lot of promise for future games, none actually make use of it.

However, this is likely to change as game developers will inevitably find a use for it.


Lenovo has launched its ThinkPad Helix, a 11.6in Ultrabook powered by Windows 8.

It allows users to transfer data from compatible devices by just placing them close to it.

The company plans to add more features such as allowing customers to make online purchases by tapping a credit card on its notebooks.

Sony, on the other hand, has announced that its latest Vaio Fit Ultrabook will also use this technology for sharing website URLs and other information with NFC-enabled devices.

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