RFID readers, writers, and spoofers

[Carl] has done a lot of work developing a collection of RFID hardware. The two cards you see above are spoofers that can be programmed in the field using the keypad on the left, or the rather intimidating banks of DIP switches on the right. We also enjoyed his look at the Atmel T5557 and ATA5567 on-card chips used for the tags themselves. He shared the schematics for his designs but unfortunately he’s not distributing the firmware. None-the-less, if you’re interested in learning more about RFID this is a wonderful resource as it covers readers, writers, spoofer, and tags.

Teensy credit card reader

Here’s a hack that makes business sense. [PT] recalls last year’s HOPE conference when their booth was using a virtual credit card terminal for purchases that required manual entry of card information. This year they’ll have the same virtual terminal but this magnetic stripe reader will fill it out automatically.

A magstripe reader (reading only, no funny business here) from Mouser grabs data from the card. A Teensy microcontroller board, which identifies itself as a USB keyboard, automatically fills out the virtual terminal from the parsed data. The real question, are his customers comfortable sliding their plastic through a hacked reader?

Build your own RFID reader

We asked for it and our readers delivered. [Klulukasz] left a comment pointing to this diy RFID reader that was a final project in 2006 for a class at Cornell University. It is well documented and includes not only a schematic and code, but an explanation of the design considerations used during the build. The project uses an ATmega32 and the parts list priced out at about $50 at the time. There were plenty of responses to the RFID spoofer post pointing out that there are readers available for $40, but we want the fun of building our own.

A bit more vague with the details but no less interesting is this other simple RFID reader design. Thanks to [Chuck] for his comment which pointed to that link.

Is that some type of new Kindle?

[Mr C Camacho] picked up an inexpensive digital picture frame hoping to hack into it. He hasn’t had the time to crack open the hardware so that it will do his bidding but he did find a creative way to make it an ebook reader. Using a python script he processes books, creating images of the pages.

The python script, available after the break, takes free books from Project Gutenburg and spits out JPG images. Page turning and bookmarking are not what they ought to be but the process does work. The thought of someone staring at a picture frame on the subway is a bit amusing but we’re sure that sooner or later someone will ask if it’s a new version of the Kindle.

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RFID meets Open Sound Control

Have you been working on a MIDI controller that uses RFID to identify and control different instruments? No? Neither have we but now we’re going to have to look into it. That’s because [Martin.K] has done a lot of the work for us. His nfOSC package links an RFID reader to the Open Sound Control library.

In the video after the break we see [Martin] placing RFID tags onto a Touchatag reader. With each addition, his software triggers a tag add event that OSC picks up and translates to a midi event; in this case it adds a new instrument to the mix. Can this be used to relieve musicians from staring at computer screens during performances? What if there was a small shelf in front of you? As you happily play your electric Didgeridoo, small items with RFID tags on them can be added or removed from that shelf to change the samples that are triggered when toiling away on that sonic weapon. This should be fun!

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Droplet

[Andrew Rapp] sent in this project called Droplet. He’s been doing work with Xbees and Arduinos together and built this little toy. He describes it as “sort of like a Chumby”. It has built in services for Twitter, Google Calendar, News, Gmail, etc.  You can download the full source code and plans on his site. His next planned revisions include possibly running it from a sheevaplug, making a nice case for it, and utilizing the unused pins of the arduino.

Magnetic stripe card spoofer

After building a USB magnetic stripe reader, [David Cranor] has found a way to fool a magnetic stripe reader using a hand-wound electromagnet and an iPod. The data on a card is read and stored on a computer, then encoded as a WAV file using a C++ program. The iPod plays the WAV file with the data through a single-stage opamp amplifier connected to the headphone jack. The amplifier is used to drive the electromagnet. Video embedded after the jump.

By no means is this a new idea. There have been a lot of mangetic stripe projects and software. This project in particular references the 1992 Phrack article “A Day in the Life of a Flux reversal” by [Count Zero].

Don’t get your hopes up just yet on strolling through high security installations using this little device. It can only replay the data from a card that has been recorded. If you don’t have a known working card, it won’t get you very far.

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