Inspiration

Apple Wallet's a magical tool for anybody. Enjoy the benefits of your credit card, airline or concert ticket, and more without the hassles of keeping a physical object. But one crucial limitation is that these cards generally can't be put on the Apple Wallet without the company itself developing a supportive application. Thus, we're stuck in an awkward middle ground of half our cards being on our phone and the other half being in our wallet.

What it does

Append scans your cards and collects enough data to create an Apple Wallet pass. This means that anything with a standardized code(most barcodes, QR codes, Aztec codes, etc.) can be scanned in, and redisplayed on your Apple Wallet for your use. This includes things like student IDs, venue tickets, and more.

How we built it

We used Apple's Vision framework to analyze the live video feed from the iPhone to collect the code data. Our app parses the barcode to analyze its data, and then generates its own code to put on the wallet. It uses an external API to assist with generating the necessary wallet files, and then the wallet is presented to the user. From the user opening the app to downloading his/her wallet, the process takes about 30 seconds total.

Challenges we ran into

We ran into some troubles regarding nonstandardized barcodes, or ambiguity concerning different standards. Fortunately, we developed methods around them, and reached a point where we can recognize the major standards that exist.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

A large portion of the documentation regarding adding custom Apple Wallet passes are outdated. What's worse is that a subset of these outdated documentation are wrong in subtle ways, i.e. the code compiles but has different behavior. Navigating with limited vision was difficult, but we succeeded in the end.

What we learned

We learned a lot about Apple's PassKit API. The protocols behind it are well implemented, and seeing them in action gave us even more personal confidence in using Apple Wallet for wallet needs in the future.

What's next for Append

We want to implement our own custom API for producing Apple Wallet files, to make sure that any user data is completely secure. Additionally, we want to take advantage of iPhone hardware to read and reproduce NFC data so that every aspect of the physical card can be replaced.

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