The RFID Access Control System started as a paper for the for the Hardware and Software Interfaces course. The task in hand was to identify a process that could be improved, design and build an embedded system to solve it. We designed a system to improve access control at the university's laboratories. At the time, the authorization to access laboratories had to be requested on email or phone call, the student had to pick-up the printed the authorization and present it to the security guard responsible for that area of the university.
Our solution was to implement an electronic access control system. We considered using barcode, PIN, biometric, RFID, and other technologies. Barcode and PIN were considered not secure enough for the requirements. Biometric was too expensive, hard to deploy and maintain.
The university had a standard student card which supported RFID ISO/IEC 14443 and we decided to used it to identify students. We bought a stand-alone RFID MIFARE reader and integrated it with an Arduino board to program the access rules required.
The final project was presented at the university technology week in 2011. The project was also used in undergraduate research and senior capstone projects at the Robotics Study Group.