NFC Phone and TV

Social applications between phones and a tv using nfc

A few demonstrations showing how NFC-equipped phones and televisions can work together. This was posted at www mobisocial.stanford.edu. Personally I find this very interesting.  I  made no summary so you can read (almost) everything here.

“Unfortunately, we don’t yet have an NFC-equipped television. Instead, we’ve stuck an NFC tag on the back of our TV’s remote control, storing the configuration details of a service running on our settop box. We use a basic HTTP proxy to handle our NFC NDEF messages. Our system has been designed so that no prior setup is required for a phone and TV to interact, just a simple touch between devices.

The Applications

We are demonstrating five different applications running between our phones and TVs. The phone applications are all written in Java for the Android platform, and the TV components are done in Javascript and HTML.

Photo Display
We modified Android’s built-in Gallery3D application to add support for NFC. We can browse to any photo in our gallery, and by touching the phone to our TV remote, the image is displayed on our big screen.

Collaborative Whiteboard
Next, we demonstrate our whiteboard application running between two phones and a TV. One phone launches the whiteboard application and begins drawing. By touching the phone to another, the application (and application session) are sent to the second device. Touching either phone to the TV remote presents the whiteboard on the TV screen for a shared display.

Slideshow Presentation
Here, we show how a phone can be used to control a slideshow presentation on a large display. The phone runs a slideshow program which stores the user’s presentations. Touching the phone and remote sends the presentation to the TV. Once the slides are visible on screen, the phone becomes a remote control for the presentation.

Next, we show a game of Texas Hold’em poker called weHold’Em, played between phones and a TV. Each phone acts as a game controller, showing the player’s private cards. One phone launches the weHold’Em application to begin the game. Touching phones sends the session information to another device, and the new player joins. Touching either phone to the TV remote brings up the game’s public display, and the game begins.

Video Streaming
Finally, we show how to use the phone to select video content to play on our TV. We wrote a custom application to browse Netflix streamable movies. We browse the collection of movies on the phone, and touch our phone to the TV remote to beam the content over. Our phone can keep account credentials for a cloud-based media provider, and the NFC transaction allows our TV to access the movie.

The Design

As mentioned, we do not have an NFC-equipped television, and so we wrote a simple socket server to handle our NFC messages. We store the configuration information of this proxy in an NFC tag stuck to the back of our TV’s remote. When the phone detects this tag, it hands the NFC connection over to our proxy server, sending the NDEF messages to the listening socket.

A real-world implementation of an NFC-equipped remote control could work in one of two ways. First, the remote control could have an active NFC chip in it, forwarding messages to the TV or settop box. Second, the remote control could have a passive NFC tag in exactly the same way as we’ve done, storing configuration information for a listening service. This would keep the price of the remote lower, and an NFC sticker could be put on the back of an existing remote as we’ve shown. However, this would require that the phone’s operating system supports the connection handover protocol specified by the NFC Forum. Furthermore, the latter would not support scanning passive NFC tags.”

(www mobisocial.stanford.edu/news/2011/02/social-applications-between-phones-and-a-tv-using-nfc/)

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Joao Rostli

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