RFID, Raspberry Pi & LBS

The experimentation with Raspberry Pi goes on. RFID is the next stage in effective Indoor Location Based Services and to understand this the following is a small project that brings RFID to the Raspberry Pi.

A brief history of the Raspberry Pi

The first batch of 10,000 Raspberry Pi’s went on sale in February 29th, 2012. And towards the end of 2011, the SD card image for it had already been downloaded more than 50,000 times. Eden Upton designed them for education – specifically python, hence the “Pi” part of the name.

But the tiny board has caught the eye of already experienced programmers and electronic hackers. This has caused a return to a DIY culture with the Raspberry Pi at the forefront of hackers, makers and the curious to understand what is happening “under the hood”.

Location Based Services and RFID

One of the key developments in LBS technology in 2014, is the standards based RF Pattern Matching, based on RFID. This network-based positioning method is based on radio link measurements collected from the network and/or the device. In short, it uses the device’s own radio signals to identify its location, eliminating any dependency on satellites or other network hardware, which is traditional in LBS..

This technology works extremely well in dense urban and indoor environments, and is being used in both mission-critical public safety applications as well as commercial deployments in the US.

In the Internet of Things, truly smart objects essentially are embedded with both an RFID tag and a sensor to measure data. This is easily illustrated using the Raspberry Pi.

The project

For a detailed explanation, check http://skpang.co.uk/blog/archives/946

This project uses the SL030 RFID module with the Raspberry Pi. This will allow the Pi to read the 13.56MHz Mifare RFID cards. The SL030 modules uses the I2C interface at 3.3v.

Software Setup

Install the i2c driver.

Install the Quick2Wire Python library.

Change to the directory where the Quick2wireWire is installed. In our case (your setup might be different):

cd git/quick2wire-python-api/

Download the example python script (thanks to @whaleygeek whaleygeek.co.uk) by:

wget http://www.skpang.co.uk/dl/rfid.py

Change the file permission to allow execute:

chmod +x rfid.py

Start the Python script:

sudo ./rfid.py

Swipe a RFID card or tag onto the reader and the information on the card should be displayed