2020-02-04 (Tu) RFIDKeyboard

When I tell some people I have an RFID implant, they ask what I do with it. They cannot see how it would be useful, and I adore when people take an interest instead of repulsion. At work, I log into my computer by typing a short sequence, and then I scan my implant and a USB reader “types” the implant’s serial number and the Enter key. That number is the second half of my password. Unfortunately, the reader is an obtrusive bit hanging off the side of a monitor.

Another biohacker mentioned the idea of taking the guts of one these readers and hiding it inside a mechanical keyboard but placing the antenna under the spacebar. I thought it sounded brilliant, and I had the parts, so I ripped open a reader and looked at the pieces. Most of the device is empty board underneath a copper coil made from magnet wire. I can remove the USB plug if necessary, so long as I am willing to solder the power and data lines directly to another board.
Inside an RFID USB dongle

I am not an expert on antennas, and RFID is a small branch because the wire coils they use are coupling electromagnets more like a transformer than an antenna. I tried to wind an antenna myself from magnet wire. My winding jig was a couple of chopsticks jammed through the top of a cardboard box. With a little tape, the coil was neat enough for a test.
Homemade wire coil

I soldered the coil to the reader terminals and tried a couple of different tags, but none of them worked. I suspect the stock coil was built for the chip inside the reader, and its length is specified, so my loop was probably the wrong dimensions and wire length. Winding a smaller coil could work, but it may be easiest to use the stock coil.
Coil inside keycap

The rest of the posts for this project have been arranged by date.
First time here?

Completed projects from year 1
Completed projects from year 2
Completed projects from year 3
Completed projects from year 4
Completed projects from year 5
Completed projects from year 6

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