No one likes standing in lines. While attempting to find an idea for a security-related hack, we realized that already existing RFID tags in retail stores could both send and receive information. This gave us the idea to allow people to interact with them.

What it does

This is a mobile application that would allow customers to purchase retail items by scanning an RFID chip with their mobile device. By scanning the chip, they receive information about the item including price, an image, and a product description. Once payment has been confirmed, the RFID's security feature can be disabled by our application so that the user may take the item from the store.

How we built it

Because we did not have access to RFID tags, we substituted in an electric-imp to simulate a tag. The electric-imp is linked to a URL, which upon visiting turns off the connected LED that symbolizes the activation of an RFID tag's security feature. We integrated this functionality within our app, so that we can remotely "scan" the item that the tag is associated with, and upon We used an electric-imp, an Internet of Things platform. to communicate with our mobile device via wifi, Android Studio to build our mobile application, and Twitter Bootstrap to create our website.

Challenges we ran into

It was an arduous task to find a hardware solution that modeled an RFID tag compatible with our software. The hardware lab ran out of Arduino microcontrollers and bluetooth shields, so we experimented with a tiny-duino, several Intel Edison boards, which all for some reason refused to work with our computers. So after trying out seven different boards, we finally arrived at our savior: the electric-imp.

What we learned

All of us came in either rusty or inexperienced with Android. All of our UI skills received tons of practice, so much so that one of our team members initially with zero experience with Android Studio, was successfully helping build non-trivial parts of the application by the end of the project. We also all got some experience using the electric-imp!

Share this project: