NewsSTIWA Group and Infineon Collaborate on Revolutionary Smart Lock, SMALOX

STIWA Group and Infineon Collaborate on Revolutionary Smart Lock, SMALOX

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STIWA Group, renowned for its innovation in automation and manufacturing technology, is set to showcase its latest product, the SMALOX smart lock, at the Parcel and Post Fair in Amsterdam. The forward-thinking lock is tailored for the growing demands of the modern parcel and postal services industry, proving versatile for home boxes, click and collect boxes, and even key boxes. At the heart of its technology is the NFC (Near Field Communication) mechanism, a brainchild of Infineon Technologies AG.

Infineon’s leading-edge NGC1081 microcontroller stands out in the NFC domain as it encompasses an integrated motor driver and an energy harvesting module. The ingenuity of the NGC1081 enables the creation of a smart lock using just a singular chip. This not only minimizes manufacturing costs but also streamlines the design. A significant feature of the SMALOX lock is its ability to draw power straight from mobile devices, courtesy of its NFC tech. Such a feature eliminates dependency on external power sources like batteries, simplifying its installation and cutting down on maintenance.

Moreover, the NGC1081 boasts a suite of impressive features. Apart from the NFC interface, it houses an H-Bridge and an energy harvesting module that culminates in a smart actuator within a single chip. The versatility of the NGC1081 is evident in its operation modes, with provisions to power via NFC fields passively, drawing energy from mobile phones, or through a battery in active mode. For added security, it’s armed with an AES128 accelerator and a true random number generator for encrypted data transactions. Besides its primary use in NFC locks, its potential spans to backup power for active lock systems and as NFC interface ICs for electronic gadgets.

Stefan Gehmayr, the Head of Sales and Marketing at STIWA, expressed his excitement for the new venture, stating, “Through our collaboration with Infineon on SMALOX, we’re delving into untapped potential in wireless energy sharing. Whether it’s cars, bicycles, household appliances, or any imaginable item at home, everything can now be locked without the encumbrance of wires or batteries. This is our vision for a sustainable future. A future where wireless power sharing is the norm.”

Dr. Qi Zhu, Director Product Marketing and Business Development for NFC Solutions at Infineon’s Power & Sensor Systems Division, also expressed enthusiasm for their collaboration with STIWA. “It’s an honor for STIWA to choose Infineon’s passive NFC technology for their smart lock. With STIWA’s unparalleled design expertise, we’re confident customers will receive a top-notch product. Our collaboration is poised to transform the locking solutions space.”

As industries gear up for a more electrified and connected future, the STIWA-Infineon partnership heralds a new era of innovation and sustainability.

Understanding the Energy Harvesting Module

In the realm of advanced electronics, an energy harvesting module is an innovative solution designed to capture, store, and convert ambient energy into electrical energy that can be used to power devices. This ambient energy can be derived from various sources, such as light, vibrations, heat, or even radio frequencies. By harnessing energy from the surroundings, these modules eliminate or reduce the need for traditional power sources, such as batteries.

The basic working principle involves capturing minute amounts of energy from the environment, accumulating it over time, and then storing or directly converting it into a usable form for electronic devices. For instance, a solar cell can capture energy from sunlight, while piezoelectric materials can generate power from mechanical vibrations.

What makes energy harvesting modules particularly enticing is their potential to revolutionize how electronic devices are powered. For instance, devices in remote or hard-to-reach areas, where regular battery replacement is cumbersome or impractical, can greatly benefit from such a system. Additionally, by minimizing the reliance on batteries, these modules contribute to a greener and more sustainable environment, reducing the e-waste associated with battery disposal.

The integration of energy harvesting modules, as seen in the NGC1081 microcontroller, is a testament to the rapid advancement of technology. In the context of the SMALOX smart lock, the module allows the lock to harness energy directly from mobile devices using NFC technology. This not only simplifies the design but also cuts down on maintenance costs and environmental impact.

As technological demands continue to grow, and as the world becomes more conscious of its energy consumption, energy harvesting modules may soon become a standard feature in a myriad of electronic devices, ensuring they function more efficiently and sustainably.

Diving into the AES128 Accelerator

In the world of digital security and data encryption, the AES128 accelerator stands out as a pivotal tool. The Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) is a specification for the encryption of electronic data, and the ‘128’ denotes the key length of 128 bits. While AES can also be implemented with 192 and 256-bit keys, the 128-bit version is often favored for its balance between security and speed.

The AES128 accelerator is a hardware-based solution designed to speed up the encryption and decryption processes of AES128 algorithms. Instead of relying on software-based calculations which can be time-consuming and resource-intensive, the accelerator harnesses specialized circuitry to execute these tasks. This means that data can be encrypted or decrypted at much higher speeds, making it particularly advantageous for applications that handle vast amounts of data or require real-time processing.

There are several benefits to using an AES128 accelerator. Firstly, because it’s hardware-based, it is typically more resistant to certain types of cyber-attacks, like timing attacks, that exploit the time taken to execute cryptographic algorithms. Moreover, by offloading the encryption tasks to dedicated hardware, the central processing unit (CPU) of a device is freed up, ensuring smoother overall device performance.

In the context of the SMALOX smart lock, the integrated AES128 accelerator in the NGC1081 microcontroller serves a crucial role. It ensures that any data involved in the lock’s operations is encrypted, making unauthorized access or tampering significantly more challenging. By leveraging this hardware encryption, STIWA’s solution aligns with the top-notch security standards of today’s connected devices.

The evolution and incorporation of tools like the AES128 accelerator underpin the broader industry’s move towards enhanced security. As devices become increasingly interconnected and data-centric, ensuring that information remains confidential and tamper-proof is paramount. The AES128 accelerator, with its swift and secure encryption capabilities, is instrumental in realizing this goal.

Michal Pukala
Electronics and Telecommunications engineer with Electro-energetics Master degree graduation. Lightning designer experienced engineer. Currently working in IT industry.