Mobile RFID scanning

[Chris Paget] is going to be presenting at ShmooCon 2009 in Washington D.C. this week. He gave a preview of his RFID talk to The Register. The video above demos reading and logging unique IDs of random tags and Passport Cards while cruising around San Francisco. He’s using a Symbol XR400 RFID reader and a Motorola AN400 patch antenna mounted inside of his car. This is industrial gear usually used to track the movement of packages or livestock. It’s a generation newer than what Flexilis used to set their distance reading records in 2005.

The unique ID number on Passport Cards doesn’t divulge the owners private details, but it’s still unique to them. It can be used to track the owner and when combined with other details, like their RFID credit card, a profile of that person can be built. This is why the ACLU opposes Passport Cards in their current form. The US does provide a shielding sleeve for the card… of course it’s mailed to you with the card placed outside of the sleeve.

Technology exists to generate a random ID every time an RFID card is being read. The RFIDIOt tools were recently updated for RANDOM_UID support.

[Thanks Zort]

Bobbie teaches you about SSH tunnels

Here’s a quick video covering some of the pitfalls you may encounter when setting up SSH tunnels.

Related: Björk teaches you about electronics

[Thanks Lon]

Monocular Head Mounted Display

glasses

[Xenonjon] wanted to make a Heads Up Display that he could use while maintaining the ability to see. The most logical choice was a monocular set up.  He had an old Eye-Trek laying around and decided to sacrifice it to make his Heads Up Display. Combining a screen from his TV glasses and a wireless security camera setup, he was able to achieve an untethered monocular HUD. This has a multitude of uses, from displaying vital information, to home made night vision, or just watching TV while you work.

There’s plenty of good pictures and information there. The final result is a pair of safety glasses with the display and a pack that you have to put on your belt that holds batteries and the wireless receiver.  It seems as though it isn’t horribly cumbersome, but we’d have to try it for a while to say if it would be ergonomically sound.

Pong playing robot

Sometimes, it can be very difficult to find a partner to play pong. Lets face it, pong just isn’t worth playing alone. Someone has come up with the perfect solution, a robot built specifically for playing pong. It watches the “ball” with a web cam and presses the appropriate buttons on the keyboard with its tentacle like arms. It is vaguely reminiscent of the switchboard operators from Men In Black, and definitely overkill for the job. You may notice there seems to be some performance issues with their game of pong. I doubt that the game itself is that taxing, but the same computer is controlling the robot as well.