[Dave Birch] There’s no real point to this post, except I thought you’d find it mildly diverting. As part of one of the projects we’ve been working on in the telecommunications sector, the guys and gals in Hyperlab (Consult Hyperion’s research and development team) had to build some kit to measure and map the electromagnetic fields around contactless payment terminals to help the terminal and card designers improve the performance of payment and transit cards in operational environments. Since one of the terminals that I’m interested in is the Nokia 6131 NFC phone, they put that in the rig. So this is what a Nokia 6131 looks like to a person:
And this is what it looks like to a Visa card:
One thing that shows up clearly is that the field strength drops off very quickly as you move further away from the antenna at the tip of the phone, and it then becomes patchy compared to the field you see around a conventional POS terminal, so the mobile guys have to continue to work on antenna design because at the moment you have to position the card and phone a little too precisely.
These opinions are my own (I think) and presented solely in my capacity as an interested member of the general public [posted with ecto]