RFID Access

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Hive13 Project
RFID Access System


Status: Active
Start Date: 1/12/2012



The purpose of this project is to build a modular RFID Access System that can be productized. It will be open source and open hardware. It is hopeful that other hackerspaces will adopt this so it can become fairly standardized. Right now pretty much every hackerspace has rolled their own device.

  • Requirements
    • Accepts NFC tags and phones with NFC for access and tracking control
    • Central database (Ruby on Rails, MySQL, accessed via ConnectPort X2 or similar to the ZigMee Mesh)

Project Manager


What needs to be done



Vending Machine RFID

The Soda machine has been completely integrated within the space, with the exception of tracking of which sodas have been dispensed -- the hardware is there and the buttons are wired to the arduino, but, we're not sending that data back to the hive soda controller.

The Snack Vending Machine has been gutted, its coin validator removed, and RFID card mounted to the machine, however, no work has been done to bring that machine to vending status.

Ruby on Rails Interface

  • Add in OpenID Support
    • Facebook/Foursquare Checkins to the hive on entry
    • Twitter updates on entry
  • IRC Notifications
  • MPD Integration

Project Misc

  • Define and identify card design


GitHub link for Arduino Code: [1]

GitHub link for Ruby on Rails Server code: [2]

Github link for rfid hardware: [3]

Enrollment Station

One of the goals of this project is to build a case where cash payments to the hive can be recorded (and membership automatically extended), and cash payments can be automatically made to the card for the purposes of purchasing sodas, vending machine items, or laser minutes.

This project is in the planning phase right now -- however, if you want to help, I would appreciate the time and can provide my guidance for this project.


Jon has created a board the has some processing power and can provide 3.3v, 5v, and 12v rails via power over ethernet and another board that can do 13.56MHz NFC/RFID. The boards have been built and tested, but need firmware to be written for them. Code and progress can be seen on [[4]].


  • Easy to set up for other spaces without having to learn chibios, set up a whole compiler stack, etc (run server on the device for initial setup?).
  • standardized rest api
  • Very modular (shields)
  • NFC and RFID so phones and smaller cards/tags are supported
  • Basic board cost under $50
  • Fairly small footprint and power consumption

nice to have

  • standard case?
  • screen to display information
  • current measurement device (current transformer) to measure how long a tool is on.
  • esp8266 support for wireless

current use cases


  • "tool" that everyone has access to for main doors?
  • Some spaces want a bit more security by way of PINs and cards.
  • lockers are tools that only an individual person has access to.


  • Some spaces want a timeout
  • Least controversial method so far is tap card to enable tool, push a button to disable tool when finished. No timeout.

Vending machines

  • Need to deduct credits/dollars from a stored value securely.

Member registration/payment terminal

  • Need to securely add credits/dollars to a stored value.
  • Need to also be able to associate a card ID with an account. Maybe multiple card/phone IDs? PIN as well