Project Description

The NFC-WISP, which is a programmable, sensing and computationally enhanced platform designed to explore new RFID enabled sensing and user interface applications. The NFC-WISP is fully powered and read by commercially available RFID readers (including NFC enabled smart phones) using the ISO-14443 protocol. Excess harvested power can be stored in an optional super-capacitor or thin-film battery enabling operation away from the reader. This open-source platform includes temperature and acceleration sensors, 2MB of FRAM, LEDs and an optional 2.7” active bistable matrix E-ink display. Expansion headers allow access to the microcontroller allowing for rapid prototyping of new applications. The use of the NFC-WISP for a perishable goods temperature and motion monitoring application is demonstrated as well as the use of wireless power transfer based on magnetic coupled resonance for high power recharging of multiple NFC devices.


Additionally, the NFC-WISP is designed as a printed circuit board (PCB) rather than a custom integrated circuit, which allows the platform to be easily reconfigured and debugged. For example the NFC-WISP exposes the full ADC and GPIO ports of the MSP430 via header pins so that new applications can be quickly developed and tested. One such application is the Wirelessly Powered Bistable Display Tag, which consists of the NFC-WISP plus a 2.7 inch E-Ink display.


This video demonstrates the capabilities of the display tag as a “companion display” for a mobile phone.

Open Source

We plan on open sourcing the hardware and software files for the NFC-WISP and the Display Tag in late 2013, so that researchers can explore new applications and usages based on NFC technology. This will be done similarly to how the UHF-WISP was open sourced. If you would like more information on how to obtain NFC-WISPs please contact Alanson Sample.


Awarded a Seed Grant: Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering (an NFS Research Center) for the proposal entitled: "Development of the NFC-WISP as a standardized framework for wireless power delivery and bidirectional communication with neural implants" to Alanson Sample on September 15, 2011; Award Number EEC-1028725

Nominated for the Best Paper Award: "NFC-WISP: A Sensing and Computationally Enhanced Near-Field RFID Platform"; ACM International Joint Conference on Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing; April 15-17, 2015

Nominated for the Best Paper Award: "Wirelessly Powered Bistable Display Tags"; IEEE International Conference on RFID; September 8-12, 2013

Related Publications

Related Projects


Wireless Identification and Sensing Platform (WISP)

The WISP is a programmable, battery-free sensing and computing platform designed to explore sensor-enhanced UHF RFID applications. This open-source platform communicates with and harvests all its power from commercially available UHF RFID readers. As part of Intel Research’s WISP Challenge 500 WISPs have been donated to over 50 universities worldwide.

4 Award
15 Papers
2 Video
Open Source Tech Transfer


This project started as a collaboration between Intel labs, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and the University of Washington; and has continued at Disney Research.