Introduction: Sam - NFC Smartphone Automation Mate

About: Industrial Design student @ Emily Carr University

Introduction: Sam - NFC Smartphone Automation Mate

Preface: This is a group project between Lance Pan and Zeynep Kirmiziyesil at Emily Carr University of Art & Design for Smart Objects Core. This project explores Near Field Communication (NFC) which is a simple form of electronic communication between two devices.

NFC Technology is functional in many ways thus we explored it in the form of automation for work-based or social-based productivity. We explored the idea of productivity through concealing your phone in a sleeve with NFC tags that can be customized to activate smartphone functionality such as Do Not Disturb, Alarm, Timer, Sound etc. This specific Instructable is based on using NFC as a timer.

As you conceal your screen, you can increase productivity without necessarily having to lock it away. This idea is based on an Instructables DIY guide that we found ( This project is an exploration of NFC automation in the form of a Smartphone concealer to increase productivity.

Step 1: What You Will Need


  • Veneer
  • Velvet/Fabric Lining
  • NFC Tags (1 or 2)
  • Smartphone
  • NFC Tools Application (Play Store/App Store)
  • NFC Tasks Application (Play Store)


  • Heat Gun
  • Xacto Knife/Scissors
  • Spray Adhesive/Glue
  • Cloth/Paper Towel
  • Ruler
  • Pencil/Pen
  • Wood Stain (Optional)
  • 300-400 grit Sandpaper (Optional)
  • Clamp (Optional)

Step 2: The Idea

The profile of the sleeve is simple and non-obtrusive as the design aims to be as minimal as possible. Having the sleeve conceal your screen could help with productivity and phone addiction. We considered the idea of locking your phone away out of your control and a concept based around a faraday cage where you would effectively get no reception but in emergency situations, you never know when you'll need to use your phone.

Using the NFC Tools App, you will assign the task of the timer (Or whichever that you choose) to the NFC tag and program it. The NFC Tools App has wide range of programmable tasks you can write onto a NFC tag.

As the purpose of the Smartphone Automation Mate is to increase productivity, you will want to consider Sound Profile, Do not disturb, Alarm, Timer etc..

Step 3: Assembly Part A

1. Use your phone as a template on the veneer and create allowance on every side and cut four equal sheets of veneer.

2. Use your veneer template and cut four sized pieces of velvet/fabric.

3. Sandwich your NFC tag in-between the veneer and velvet/fabric and glue around it.

4. Heat the backside of the veneer.

Step 4: Assembly Part B

1. Download NFC Tools on Google Play/App Store

NFC Tools:

2. Using NFC Tools

  • Go to the Tasks tab
  • Add a task
  • Configuration
  • Timer
  • Set your time
  • Tap on Write under More options
  • Go to the Others tab and Format memory (Do this in case the NFC Tag was not previously formatted)
  • Approach your NFC Tag to Write on
  • Complete!

A full walkthrough of the application is shown in the images above.

Step 5: Assembly Part C

1. Confirm the NFC Tags are written.

2. Heat the glued velvet/fabric.

3. Glue and press the edges down.

4. Round the corners of the veneer by cutting.

5. Sand the entire form.

6. Wipe off the dust.

7. Apply a wood stain.

Step 6: Finished!

Enjoy your new NFC enabled Smartphone Automation Mate!

Even though the tags are glued on the inside, it is still of ease to set a new function or task to each tag. Feel free to play around and create settings that are accustomed to what you need to be productive.