Sony's FeliCa Launcher lets you use smartcards and phones on your PC to launch websites


Even though virtually unknown in the US or Europe, Sony’s Felica technology, mainly materialized in the form of a contactless RFID smart card or a chip built into cell phones), is used for electronic payment by millions of people on a daily basis. Now users in Japan (one of the main markets apart from Hong Kong and Singapore) get to use it for other things (and on computers), too.

Tapping a Felica card or a Felica-powered phone on a reader built into your notebook or desktop PC (see picture) to instantly pay for stuff you buy on the web without using a credit card has been possible for years now. There are also external USB FeliCa PC reader/writers and even Felica-compatible TV remote controls on the market that let you do the same thing, at least in Japan.

But now Sony has expanded this technology by developing a system called Felica Launcher that triggers the launch of websites or software just by scanning data stored on a Felica card. Sony says swiping a blood pressure cuff (with a built-in Felica chip), for example, is enough to make the PC load a special piece of software that could record information on your health directly through the device.

The company plans to make the Felica Launcher available to other firms this fall and says it currently prepares Felica-related software, which will be available for end users for free.

Via Nikkei [registration required, paid subscription]