Maker Spotlight: MIKLOS the RFID Wizard!

Our RFDI system, created and installed by Maker Miklos in April, is a great addition to the functionality of the space. Amazed by his DIY RFID system, we decided to find out a little bit more about the project and the man behind it!

What’s your name and your background ?

Hi, my name is Miklos and I am a maker.

How did you get involved in Makers Place?

I spotted the Makers Place while I visited the library and got very excited immediately. We live in a small apartment and no way I can store all the tools and devices I want to work with, so I really liked the idea of sharing tools and ideas.

How did the RFID project commence?

I always wanted to do something with RFID, but there were no suitable projects. When Mel mentioned that she was looking for someone to make this system I knew it was the perfect opportunity!

Please fill me in, what is the RFID?

RFDI stands for Radio-Frequency Identification. RFID is an umbrella term- there are several different frequencies and implementation.  We wanted to use it to let people scan in to Makers Place when they wanted to.

How did you build it?

There were several iterations as with most making projects.

First of all I wanted to make something that really is online and can easily scale to multiple locations. There are some products and solution out there that claim to be online, but they need a local server or other additional tools to work. This was the point I decided to build something from scratch.

I decided to have a client-server setup with local caching. There is an online database that stores which card should open the door and whenever there is a request coming in it answers if the card is valid or not. If the reader can’t connect to the online database it has a local copy that will be used.

I also wanted to make sure members can use existing cards if they are compatible with the reader, so other RFID cards, such as your GoGet card can be used.

What materials were used?

The base system is a Raspberry Pi. On the top of it there is a PiFace extension that can handle the power requirements of the lock. The RFID reader is a USB one, it works just like a keyboard. And there is the lock of course with all the cabling.

What does it mean in terms of functionality for the space?

As for now it can enable keyless, logged access. In the future we can add readers to any device, so we can limit the time a potentially dangerous device has power. For example: after a swipe on a reader located next to the big saw the saw will have power for 10 minutes.

Technical deep dive:

Hardware:

  • Raspberry Pi (v1)
  • PiFace (v1)
  • USB RFID reader
  • WLAN adapter
  • Electric lock
  • Cabling

Software:

Client side:

  • OS: Raspbian
  • Code: Python

Server side:

  • Google AppEngine / Python

I’m working on to open source the software I wrote!