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Hardware Hacking Iphone Build Hardware

How To Make Your Own iPhone RFID Reader 46

andylim writes "It's been rumoured for some time now that Apple will include RFID technology in a future iPhone. An RFID-packing iPhone could interact with various objects including opening doors and it could even be used in shops to register items at the checkout. Beating Apple to the RFID punch, last year a company called Wireless Dynamics announced an iPhone RFID accessory called the iCarte, but if you'd rather make your own reader then you'll be interested to know how a research assistant at University College London has managed to build his own RFID iPhone accessory."
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How To Make Your Own iPhone RFID Reader

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  • On a side topic, my company is looking for a source of low-cost, small RFID chips. They should be perhaps 1 centimeter (about 1/3 inch) square. Each must have a unique code, but they don't need to be re-programmable. We haven't been able to find a supplier.
    • HAve you checked with Alienware in Fargo, nd?
    • try in Taiwan, Something like the stick18 (18mm dia) or Tag13 (13mm dia) products with a are more reasonably priced. While the chips are quite small the tags need an antenna and the smaller it is the shorter the reading range.
    • by Richy_T ( 111409 )

      Check out Intersoft ( They resupply the tags and sell several readers, including ones that plug straight into the serial port of whatever device you'd like. I used to work for them. The owner is a nice guy and will be happy to discuss applications and options.

  • Vaporware (Score:3, Insightful)

    by manyxcxi ( 1037382 ) on Sunday March 14, 2010 @03:01PM (#31473752) Journal
    The iCarte reeks of vaporware. Show me a video of it in action, show me a datasheet not riddled with buzzwords. Hell, show a tentative price or release date. How would you program it? How would you take the pay and go info off of a debit/credit card? Also, if it is so easy to take that info off of a card, how worried should consumers be about their security?
    • I wonder if iCarte has applied for a patent for "RFiD accessory for iPhone with lowercase 'i' in name"? (I know, I know, but the USPTO is pretty accommodating these days) If so, will try to sue the guy in London for 'rolling his own'? That may fund their next round of marketing smoke.
    • Datasheet without buzzwords.....

      Should we dress as butlers, and serve it to you on a silver platter, sir?

      If you want to know more, why not contact the company?

      And while you've used that vast intelligence of yours to raise the security 'buzzword', why don't you find out more about the topic? There's this little search engine called google. You could find information out really easy that way! Maybe the buzzwords would make sense, and you'd find out more about the implications of RFID technology as it applies

    • Being just a concept so far, I believe that it should be referred to as ideaware.
      Or would that be iDeaware?

      Near Field Communication (NFC)
      NFCIP-1 and ISO 18092 compliant
      Supports contactless payment
      Peer to peer communication
      Data exchange speed up to 424 kbps
      Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)
      ISO 14443A/B compliant
      ISO 15693 compliant
      Supports NXP MIFARE®
      Supports NXP MIFARE DESFire ®
      Supports I-CODE® SLI
      Supports Texas Instrument Tag-it(TM) HF-I
      Read, write and search 13.56 MHz HF RFID tags
      Integrated SAM (Secure Access Module)
      SmartCard compliant JCOP OS
      NXP MIFARE® Classic 1K tag emulation
      Made for iPod (MFI) accessory
      Supports iPhone 3G or iPhone 3GS
      Charge iPhone and iTune Sync via mini-USB
      Compact and Reliable Snap-On Design
      Extends iPhone length by 16.5mm (0.65")
      62.1 x 26.5 x 12.3 mm (2.4" x 1.0" x 0.5")
      Available in black or white color
      Read/Write Range
      Up to 4.0 cm (1.5") for NFC
      Up to 5.0 cm (2.0") for ISO 14443A/B
      Up to 6.0 cm (2.5") for ISO 15693
      Range depends on tag configuration, orientation
      and environment
      Low Power Consumption
      90 mA (typical) RFID Read/Write mode
      5 mA (typical) Contactless Payment mode
      Features and specifications subject to change. V0.4

    • by numbski ( 515011 )

      Heck, I'd like to get my hands on one of those card skimmers they have hooked to iPod touches in the apple store! Dang the evil you could do...

  • In the 4ed Shadowrun setting computing and wireless communications are ubiquitous, and every legal person has to have a "commlink", a small personal computer broadcasting his/her personal ID at all times. Nonpersons, such as the player characters, has to have a fake ID or be arrested on the spot. Due to the large amount of computing power available, the only real use for personal high-performance computing is breaching computer security (it makes more sense in the fluff...) - the most popular solution is th
    • Role-players scare me.

  • Ya know, cause I like hats. And doors piss me off when they don't open.

    Congratulations to Apple for embracing an infomercial sales pitch -- it opens doors! it can bake a cheesecake perfect every time! do you want an omelet?! presto!

    • It can let me in the door at work when I forget my badge at home?

      • Before I get too mean, I should offer up that I admin databases. And if everything is a nail to a man with a hammer, everything is a hacking threat to a DBA.

        I've seen too many people too gullible let strangers do too many things with their credentials, phones and credit cards to think twice about whether users should be hiking around with a security stick in their pocket -- the answer is a resounding NO, NO, NO, NO-NO-NO, NONONONO, NOOOOOOOO!!!!"

    • by RDW ( 41497 )

      Don't knock it - we were supposed to have all this in one device by 1999! []

      ' functions as a security key (restricting access to sensitive and command areas), a transponder (instantly pinpointing the position of its carrier), an audio/visual communications unit, and a programmable computer.'

      • Sounds good.

        Now how do we get all the Apple fanbois on the Moon at once and then blast it out of orbit?

        Incidentally, as a British sci-fi fan and Gerry Anderson nut, Space 1999 is a very sore point with me... an interesting a promising first series, then the Americans and Fred "The producer with a CV full of final series of popular TV shows" Freiberger got their hands on it and we ended up with a shapechanging alien being substituted for the great Barry Morse!

  • by mspohr ( 589790 ) on Sunday March 14, 2010 @03:30PM (#31473932) []

    Nokia has had a few RFID phones since 2006. This is not a new invention.

  • Wait... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Sunday March 14, 2010 @03:57PM (#31474094) Journal
    You're telling me that a small general purpose computer(albeit a deliberately locked down one) with a serial port can be connected to a variety of serial peripherals, including RFID readers? Somebody fetch the smelling salts, I feel faint.

    Sarcasm aside, of course, this seems like one of those situations where the hardware is utterly uninteresting; but the applications, once the boring hardware is broadly available could well be quite interesting, and possibly in unexpected ways(though, with RFID, not necessarily the good kind of unexpected).
  • The Question is (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    What sort of RFID are they trying to implement ?

    If they want the iPhone to open doors and such, then simply stick an RFID chip somewhere in or on the iPhone and be done with it.
    I mean, the chips are so small, the end user can do this with very little fuss. Heck if you can stick an RFID tag in your dog, cat, wallet, keyring, credit card, and even yourself, well then this is really a non newsworthy item.

    If they want to read RFID tags, then that's a different matter all together.

    There are many RFID standards,

  • by Kitkoan ( 1719118 ) on Monday March 15, 2010 @01:24AM (#31478392)
    An RFID reader on an iPhone, and RFID credit cards being hacked [] since 2008, wonder if someone will make a jailbroken only app for getting the information? Not like people think twice when they see someone playing with a iPhone in public. (while the video shows that the card pretty much needs to touch the card, the tech is getting better last I heard so the distance is getting further away and still getting the information. Plus set the program up, put your phone in your pocket and ride the bus/trains during rush hour, that would get some even with those short distances since your pretty much side by side.)
  • First, I thought they were mentioning the iCartel accessory for the iPhone. I always wanted a device I could attach to my iPhone to go around using anti-competitive measures to regulate store prices. RFID reader? Not quite as exciting.
  • Yes, I fancy the idea of having RFID readers in the hands of millions and credit card / biometric passport reading software right there at the app-store.

    No irony. There's NOTHING that makes (insecure) RFID vanish faster from cc/passports!

"There is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress." -- Mark Twain