About this project
Keysy is a new product that can backup up to four RFID access credentials into a small keyfob form factor. It will consolidate them all on your keychain so you can leave the originals at home and avoid having to pay costly replacement fees should you lose one.
Great for sharing access to your home with:
- Significant other
- Dog walker/Pet sitter
- House sitter
- Cleaning services
- Short term rental (airbnb, vrbo)
- Put your work badge on your keyring so you never forget it
- Consolidate different access credentials (up to four)
- Great for sharing parking garage access in a multi-car home
- Great for sharing access to boat docks, pools, etc.
"Legacy 125-kilohertz proximity technology is still in place at around 70% to 80% of all physical access control deployments in the U.S. and it will be a long time before that changes", says Stephane Ardiley, product manager at HID Global.
The above statement is from 2013 but it still applies very much today. The majority of the installations I see for access control still use 125kHz RFID technology that is compatible with keysy.
If you want a quick reference just jump to the chart below. I'm going to go into a little detail on compatibility as the term RFID is overloaded and used in many different technologies.
These types of RFID are NOT compatible with keysy:
- Payment systems/credit cards
- Toll road passes
- Car remote keyless entry
- Mass transit cards
Keysy is designed for making copies of access control credentials. These can be split into two groups: High frequency (13.56MHz) and low frequency (125kHz).
High-frequency cards are NOT compatible with keysy. Some popular types are:
- RFID Enabled Passports
The large majority of low-frequency cards ARE supported by keysy:
- HID prox
- Other proprietary formats
To further complicate things some cards/key fobs contain both 125kHz and 13.56MHz technology within. In this case, it will depend if the reader is reading the 125kHz or 13.56MHz portion. Also, many apartments are putting RFID stickers into garage door remotes. These will be compatible with keysy the majority of the time although there is no way of telling without trying since there is no discerning mark.
Feel free to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with a picture and I will do my best to decipher the tag type and whether it is supported.
Keysy began as a question and an engineering challenge. At the time of inception, I was working for a large company and travelling often. While away, my friends would come by and feed my cat (which required them to have access to the building) but I only had one key fob. After speaking to the management company, it became clear that they didn't want to issue additional key fobs. That was the spark that ultimately led to the creation of keysy. The idea sat in my head until I quit my job in 2013. In 2015 I decided to make a prototype. A few weeks later I had a prototype working and although functional, it was far from practical and too big to carry around.
Nine revisions of hardware and countless hours spent coding later, I have a product I'm proud of. I'm now excited to share keysy with the rest of the world and hopefully, make people's lives a little easier.
Some of the more recent prototypes above during development.
Having a 3d printer was invaluable in rapid antenna prototyping as well as making various programming fixtures/jigs.
Demo of copying one of the most widely used HID key fobs.
There's no way I could have completed this project without all the invaluable help I've received from my community, the support of my friends and family and of course the Kickstarter backers!
Risks and challenges
There is always the possibility of component stock shortages. All but two components are commodity components with readily available replacements. The exceptions being the microcontroller and the custom coil. I work closely with the microcontroller vendor reps and they assure me the chipset used in keysy will not be "end of life" for many years. The coil is custom wound in China and I have already received two shipments. Should something happen I have an alternate supplier that can build the coil to the same specification.
I've already began tooling for the injection molding. Originally I was planning on using commercial plastic parts from a US company but they recently discontinued the product. This ending up being a positive as I was able to engage early with an injection molder in china to produce tooling for the plastics. I expect samples mid-September.
To ensure there aren't any issues with manufacturing I've decided to use a near shore manufacturing facility in Tijuana, MX. The advantage being I can drive from my home to the facility in about an hour. This will allow me to be there for line bring up and debug any issues that may arise. I also plan on doing a small prototype run to prove the process and assembly flow before scaling to larger production.
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