With this simple, but quite unique, choice of words anyone could have access to the magic cave in the adventure tale of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. Hollywood has show us how many bogus security measures in underground facilities of security agencies function nowadays or simply in every household the future.
The problem with voice recognition is that is not foolproof. Virtually any security measure can be bypassed. But talking is inconvenient, unreliable and not accurate enough – up until now at least.
In this paper I will propose a solution using RFID chips, for house safety, convenience and innovation. Technical details of how the RFID tags work will not be discussed.
The use of RFID (Radio-frequency identification) is not new. Since the 1970’s it’s usage has gained importance and nowadays they are used from tracking ant’s patterns to container ships. In the last 40 years the improvement in that technology enabled wonders in logistic and also security. The chips are as small as 0.15 x 0.15 millimeters in size and 7.5 micrometers thick, they can be read wirelessly from some millimeters to hundreds of meters.
Presently the costs of the chips – also called tags – is cheap, ranging from €0,04 up to €100,00 depending on usages. The reading hardware for the tags start at €10,00, if using a already built logic board, to up several hundreds.
RFID tags are present in new cars, where the key more and more resembles a controller than it used to some years ago. Since 1997 Ford implemented RFID chips in their Mustangs. The tags bring security against thefts and it is also a good measure to control internal components of the car using board computers.
Tags are widely used, they are cheap and they are hassle free. Keys are also widely used, are cheap – but not as cheap as the RFID tags – and are sometimes a hassle.
To make a house key it costs around 5€ in your local locksmith. If it’s a weekend there is an emergency surcharge that will multiply this value many times. For the price of one key it is possible to get one hundred tags, more than enough to give to friends and neighbours in case you get locked out of home. You would need a reader at the entrance of the house, which would cost around €80 to €100.
Even if the price of the tags are cheaper. The whole system would cost more than just the average price of the bolts and locks, which still need to be present. If the house will be built with the system in mind the costs would reduce drastically. But this model is not about just prices, but convenience and security.
The tags can be really small, waterproof, need no batteries and are reliable. Instead of using cards to open the doors, the user could just attach the chip to anything that he/she wants. This is the uniqueness from the “Open Sesame”. Users could stick the tags to whatever personal object that this person carries.
But the chips can also be disabled, without changing the locks. Anybody that ever lost their keys knows how upsetting is to change the locks of their homes and sometimes of a whole building. If the person misplaces the object with the tag all he/she needs is to cancel this specific tag. The system is already there, but the practicality is not. What has been done is change the old fashioned key for a small remote that will take up as much space as the key used to. But more than that, they announce themselves as unlocking mechanisms. Hence, decreasing security.
It is not only the doors of a house that the chip could open when the tag is in the reader’s range. It could be anything. From prescription drugs, alcohol cabinets, gun cabinets, workshops and so on. The system can also increase security of conventional safety measures. Like a safe that would open only if the right code was given as well as the presence of the tag. Or a car that would only start – or keep running – if the extra chip was in range. A house alarm system, that even if the right code is given it would sound a silent alarm if no chip was in range. The possibilities to reduce theft are great and vast.
If the object carrying the tag is something as personal as a wristwatch the user could also benefit from this system in other ways. A light saving program could be designed to turn on and off the lights certain rooms or areas – like the entrance hall – or maybe the whole house. Normal motion detectors need a direct line of sight to the object, whereas the RFID chip does not have this limitation.
The chips if used together with traditional systems would improve security and user reliability.