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RFID Toys: Cool Projects for Home, Office and Entertainment (ExtremeTech) Paperback – February 13, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-0471771968 ISBN-10: 0471771961 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Radio frequency identification now belongs to the masses, and it lets you control all sorts of things. Like access to your front door. Or valuables in an RFID-enabled safe. You can corral your stuff within an RFID-monitored perimeter, or build a shelf that tells you when you're out of hot sauce. This book shows you how, with step-by-step instructions, illustrations, photos, and a list of the tools and tech- nology you need for every project. It even supplies the lowdown on read/write tags and—for the truly extreme—implantable chips.

The toys

Complete parts inventory and detailed, illustrated instructions for these exciting RFID projects

  1. Home door lock
  2. Vehicle access
  3. Computer logon
  4. Electronic safe
  5. Smart shelves
  6. Doggie door
  7. Object locator
  8. Theft alert
  9. Handheld scanner
  10. Implantable chips

About the Author

Amal Graafstra is an entrepreneur and jack-of-many-trades. Currently involved in no less than three different companies, he still finds time to think up interesting ways to apply various technologies in his daily life and wield a soldering iron from time to time. Amal is CEO of Morpheus Inc., a computer and networking company that specializes in supplying managed terminal environments to the medical industry.
He is also president of txtGroups Inc. (www.txtgroups.com), an SMS text messaging company soon to launch group messaging services across Canada, with plans for expansion to the US, UK, and Australia.
Since learning about the contactless RFID technology used in cats and dogs for identification, Amal wanted to leverage that technology himself. Getting an implant meant there was no need to carry an RFID access card around and he could implement his own RFID access control systems instead of buying expensive off-the-shelf products. Soon after getting his first implant (www.amal.net/rfid.html) and posting some pictures of the process for a few friends, word quickly spread over the Internet and soon he found himself talking to everyone from industry players to clergy to book publishers about RFID technology and its possibilities.
Amal Graafstra can be reached at amal@amal.net.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley Publishing, Inc.; 1st edition (February 13, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471771961
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471771968
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #876,016 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Duff HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 25, 2006
Format: Paperback
RFID is one of the hot technologies these days, but it still seems to be something more suited to business applications and such. Amal Graafstra has bridged that gap in RFID Toys and shows how you can use RFID technology in your everyday life in order to make some things more simple (and to impress your other geek friends).

Contents: Getting Started with RFID; Getting in the Front Door; Stepping into Your Car; Logging into Windows XP Using RFID; Building an RFID-Enabled Safe; Taking Inventory with an RFID-Enabled Smart Shelf; Letting Fido in with an RFID Pet Door; Tracking Employees and Time with Active RFID; Monitoring Assets and Sending Alerts; The Three R's - Reading, wRiting, and RFID; Extreme RFID; Hardware Overview; Index

Graafstra is well qualified to speak on this subject. He's had himself "chipped" in order to control a number of the devices in his home (like his door locks). There's a little bit of background on how RFID works, and then he dives right into the projects. In order to build the devices he talks about, you really need to be adept at using tools like soldiering irons, xacto knives, drills, and so on. In most cases, you'll be hacking existing devices and modifying their form factor in order to integrate them into other things. For instance, logging onto Windows XP via RFID involve opening up a keyboard, clearing out an area in the wristrest, modifying the RFID device to fit the smaller area, and then all the associated wiring involved in tying it all together. If you're not comfortable with hardware, you'll likely find many of these projects rather daunting. And bottom line, I'm not letting *anyone* cut me open to put in an RFID chip. :)

This is a very good book if you're looking to understand the bridge between RFID theory and implementation. Even if you don't build any of the devices, you'll start to get an idea as to how RFID might change the way we live our lives on a daily basis.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Greg B. on February 23, 2006
Format: Paperback
I have to admit that I am not the typical reader of a book like this. I am not tech savvy per se, and I don't often build projects at home. I found this book via an Amazon search while looking into RFID about a month or so ago and decided to order it. There has been so much talk recently about security and RFID that I thought a new angle on the technology would be something I would like to know about. Mr. Graafstra has definitely brought new ideas to the table. These ten projects, while the center of the book, are simply a means for Mr. Graafstra to make his main point: that point being that RFID is not the mark of the devil, or a means of tracking individuals by the government, but rather a means of identification, and as such, has varied applications, many of which can benefit the home user. I found his writing style easy to understand, and the descriptions of how to actually make the projects well laid out and clear as well. I would recommend this book highly to anyone interested in filling a Saturday afternoon building interesting projects, or if you are like me and not particularly savvy with a soldering gun, I would recommend it highly as a means of finding out more about a new emerging technology from someone who is obviously at the forefront of imagining uses and applications for it.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A. K. on June 26, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book as the name suggests explores the concepts of RFID through projects. This book is excellent for people who have free time and would like to get some hands on with RFID. However, all the projects require the kit which is another $90. If you do not have time for all this, like me then this book is probably a waste of time.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Morgensen on May 21, 2006
Format: Paperback
I'm doing some projects with RFID and came across this book at the bookstore. After reading it, and trying out a few projects, I have to say this is by far one of the coolest books I have ever purchased.

The projects are straightforward, and the author lists where to purchase all the parts needed. Additionally, the author gives you the source code to help with the development of applications that use the devices!

If you are a geek, buy this book!

-mm
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Whinston Antion on February 23, 2006
Format: Paperback
I found "RFID Toys" to be an excellent how-to guide for this new and exciting technology. Amal walks you through each of his projects, step-by-step, while also referencing the best online sites to buy the necessary hardware. The guides were very informative and useful. I breezed through the book, and cannot wait to get started on my first project (a keyless entry door for my house). "RFID Toys" is a pioneer in its field -- I feel that Amal is opening the gates to many inventions and ideas in the near future that will become a part of our everyday lives. The extreme RFID chapter is exciting -- Wow, the possibilities... I highly recommend this book, and encourage you to try it for yourself and post your projects on his forum at [...] .

Whinston Antion

[...]
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Pedro H F Peregrino on February 23, 2006
Format: Paperback
This title is a must-have for anyone who wants to build home automation projects based on Radio Frequency Identification. No background theory gibberish, no advanced technicalities, only clear step-by-step walkthroughs on how to build RFID projects to open doors, log in to PCs, unlock cars, etc.

100% recommended!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By R. Monson on January 4, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you're a hacker at heart then this book's for you. Written well with plenty of pictures, you can do any of the projects yourself. I've used the RFID Safe to build my own small handgun safe which opens at the presence of an RFID token.
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