Magnolinq uses smartphone speakers to transmit data for controlling and configuring IoT devices
How do you interact with a device without a user interface? And how do you configure a sensor node that has neither an Internet connection nor space for a wired or optical interface?
Magnolinq is a new near-field communication technology that provides a simple way of mastering these challenges. Similar to RFID or NFC, it sends signals via electromagnetic induction by employing the magnetic coupling of adjacent circuits specifically to transmit data. But Magnolinq offers a particularly clever feature: by using frequencies at the very edge of the human hearing range, the technology can turn any smartphone speaker into a transmitter. This is achieved by way of magnetic coupling between the integrated coil in the speaker and a resonant circuit in the desired device.
With very little effort, this turns smartphones into universal control units, while the receiving device hardware requires only a slight enhancement. Made of tiny standard parts, a simple resonant circuit on the microcontroller is sufficient to receive the magnetically transmitted signals. This makes Magnolinq an especially cost-effective and space-saving option for integrating connectivity into a product.
Using a smartphone to control a Magnolinq-enabled device is child’s play: users select the desired commands or configurations in an app or web application, which then transmits them via the phone’s speakers to, say, their coffee machine, heating system or exercise bike. This does not require pairing in advance, which makes operation easier – especially in situations with high user turnover. Since the connection is direct, neither sender nor receiver must be connected to the Internet. Magnolinq can also provide a simple way of establishing the initial network connection for IoT devices that do not have a display – a task that has often proved challenging to date.
Manufacturers have the option of first testing the integration of Magnolinq into their products on a prototypical basis.
An evaluation kit for this purpose is available from the LZE GmbH online store.