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RFID Access and Attendance System

School of Applied Technology, Information Technology and Management Project
Joao Antonio Figueredo Calmon
Vladimir Zivkovic
Bruno Augusto Pereira Pinto
Course Name/Number
ITMT 492 – Embedded Systems
Embedded Systems/Smart Technology Student Presentation
Spring 2016

Using CBORD card readers and university ID cards, this group’s project was to reverse-engineer the contents of the card and create an “Attendance box.” This project was portable and allowed attendance to be taken by professors or at an event that required attendance-taking. Each scan was saved locally and timestamped, and once the instructor was satisfied, he/she would tap his/her ID card signifying a close to that attendance-taking period and it would emailed the attendance as a CSV.


Attendance at schools, universities and events is often tracked by conducting a roll call and recording the results on paper. This is time consuming and reduces the amount of class time used for learning. The goal of our project was to solve this situation using Arduino and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID). The RFID reader scans the student ID card and records the date and time the student enters class. The device keeps track of who attends class and emails the results to a professor.

About the System

Our product, RFID Access and Attendance System, has features such as: tracking attendance, an access system to open/close the door, and sending real-time email information for attendance to a professor.

There are institutions that need to track attendance and have access control to their premises. For example, in Illinois Tech (although system can be used anywhere), there are premises such as the chemistry lab or Smart Tech: Embedded Systems Lab that need this kind of system to grant access to approved students but decline non-approved personnel.

Figure – Schematic of the Access and Attendance System
Figure – Schematic of the Access and Attendance System

The picture above details our system. In the upper-left corner is an Arduino Mega Board, that along with the Ethernet Shield, is doing part of the work for the server side. In the lower-left corner, there is an Ethernet Shield attached to Arduino and connected to the Real Time Clock (RTC), as well as RFID reader. This is our attendance system. 

On the right you can see a similar system with additional components such as a relay board and battery which would be attached to the door. Working together with Arduino Mega, this represents our Access System. 

These two systems can be connected to work at the same time, or implemented individually. 

How it works?

Attendance system - When a student enters the classroom, he/she taps a RFID card on the RFID reader, and the data collected about which students attended the class is sent to a professor’s (or other designated recipient’s) email.

Access System – To gain access to a specific location (room or building), people with access rights or permission tap their RFID card and the door will unlock. Unapproved users will be declined, and the door will not unlock. In addition to granting access, the device will track who accessed the device and the specific time.

Note: In addition, we also implemented this project with a Galileo board (instead Arduino Mega) and in this case there is possibility to have all information about access or attendance on the SD card.

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