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Cool ways to use NFC on Android

Updated on May 16, 2014

So you have a cool new Android phone, and want to have some fun? Well most newer phones have an NFC antenna, which can be a great tool but also good fun too. If you are not sure if you have NFC then download the app from the market, just search 'Do I have NFC'. Besides being able to create tags for changing settings, sharing contact info, or advertising the NFC tags can offer tons of great fun.

I am going to give you a short list of some fun things to use NFC for, but first a few things it is already used for. If you have kids, you are familiar with Disney Infinity. Both Disney Infinity and Skylanders use NFC tags in their characters. Disney also uses it in their MagicBands, which allow them to track people in the parks and allows consumers to charge items to their hotel bill.

The life of NFC is just getting started, and soon it will be everywhere. I foresee a future where you can touch your phone to a poster and have the IMDb listing for a movie pulled up on your phone. Where a flyer can have a tag on it, and tapping it will give you directions to the business. I think NFC is going to change the way many things are done.

1) Create a Scavenger Hunt or Race

This could be great for a group or business. You can buy NFC stickers fairly cheap and stick then to waypoints. As you stick them up, you can add them to your device. Either setup a series of clues, or leave a trail for everyone to follow.

Create a racetrack of waypoints, then challenge your friends to race you on it. Make it more interesting with bikes, or put the tags in slightly harder places to reach.

If you own a business, use this to create team exercises. Make the riddles something for the team to solve together. Perhaps link the clues to different training topics.

2) Make yourself get up in the morning.

Do you, or someone you know, have a hard time getting up in the morning? I know I have a tendency to hit snooze when I am half asleep, and had to move my alarm clock across the room. What if you had to go all the way out to your coffee maker to turn off you alarm?

This next tip is a personal favorite. take one of you tags, that is programmed, and assign it as the off tag for this alarm app. When your phone goes off, it will not stop until you touch your phone to this tag.

The tag has to be programmed for some other use to work, but that isn't so bad. My only problem with this app is that it isn't free, but they can't all be.

3) Practical Jokes

This one has endless possibilities. You can use the tag to launch an app, such as a broken screen app, or to autodial a number. The only limitation here is your imagination.

My personal favorite idea is to have it play the alarm sound every time the phone is placed on the tag, as this works with every phone with NFC enabled. It was suggested that you get a broken cordless charger and stick a black NFC sticker on it. Then you program the sticker to set off the alarm on the phone. Persuade your friends that the new charger works for any phone that has NFC built-in.

You could just as easily give your friend a kickstand for their phone, but include an NFC tag that opens an embarrassing website when it touches the phone. The sky's the limit.

4) NFC based games

Skylanders and Disney have already proven this concept, so I won't spend a lot of time here. There are multiple ways that companies could use NFC to create games. Disney could even start promoting their new movies by giving free content inside infinity, just by scanning a poster in the theaters.

5) Share locations and info via tags

This isn't limited to just business men. What if you could take a tour of a museum by touching your phone to the displays? Maybe you could mark your favorite fishing spot and give it to friends?

The tags can hold everything from map locations to phone numbers. Next time someone asks for your phone number, you could touch a tag to their phone and you're now in their contacts.

Taking multiple cars to a new location, now everyone can use the same map to get there, just program the tag and touch it to each driver's phone.


This is not meant to list everything there is about NFC, and I am sure I missed a lot. I do hope however, that this shed some light on the benefits of NFC technology and how you can have some fun.


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    • profile image

      lisa brown 3 years ago

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      Mrinal Saha 3 years ago from Jaipur,India

      Great, tutorial. Btw there has been an android app, design called Puzzle alarm clock which is design specifically to Make yourself get up in the morning.