Adventures in RFID (with the MF522-AN module)

I’ve been meaning to do some experiments with RFID for a while. The technology is cheap, reliable and opens up a world of possibilities for exhibit and event IT interactive displays.

I chose Arduino as my platform for RFID, not only because it’s robust and I’m familiar with it, but also because it has established integration with openFrameworks and Flash – my two platforms of choice for interactive displays.

My first RFID module arrived today and I’m pleased to say that it was up and running within the hour. So far it seems totally reliable and incredibly fast – a quick swipe past the reader is enough to correctly identify the card.

Here’s a quick video of my first test. It’s a really simple ‘hello world’ type example, but it demonstrates a few things: 1) the I2C protocol works; 2) the wiring is correct; 3) this simple sketch is enough to get the raw ID numbers off the card and out to the serial line.

Once we’ve got serial I/O, everything else (in Flash, HTML, openFrameworks, etc) is established tech.

What’s next? I’d love to do an event or venue installation where RFID labels (which cost pennies each) personalise an AV experience to each user. But for now I might pair this with a door lock to give me contactless access to my garage.

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