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Card-based access control for devices in a scientific lab environment

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This projects describes a system for card-based access control with integrated logbook function for scientific devices in a research lab environment. It is based on a combination of multiple Raspberry computers with card readers, a MySQL database and a management interface consisting of a php webpage. The construction of simple electronics to allow or deny the use of controlled devices - by interrupting connection to USB keyboard/mouse or mains supply - is also described.

The card-reading unit uses a Raspberry Pi computer (rev. B) with Adafruit's NFC breakout board (connected via I2C port) and a small add-on electronics with green login-LED, red logout-button, buzzer and switching output. The device control software consists of a Python program running permanently as a background job. It makes use of RPi.gpio and Py532lib libraries and Quick2wire's python API. The logbook software is based on a MySQL database and a PHP-driven web frontend, to review and control device usage.

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  • reading RFID cards (with Adafruit PN532-based NFC breakout board)
  • using Raspberry Pi to evaluate card uid against a MySQL database
  • controls access to devices by switching USB keyboard/mouse or mains supply
  • logs usage of multiple devices to the MySQL database
  • web frontend to manage users, groups, devices and review logbook entries


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Additional Project Details

Intended Audience

Advanced End Users

User Interface


Programming Language

PHP, Python


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