Project Open Sesame: Building an Arduino based Access System


 The Project Open Sesame collaboration is to invent, build, and test our idea for a homebuilt security door system using the Arduino based micro controller. A hope to document our work as we go / and and publish it when we're done to help other spaces and groups with a new take on a security system.

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 Our initial meeting was successful. As planned, we brainstormed our design in features and in hardware options.  After all ideas were on the table, we started to critically analyze every aspect of this door project. The motivation to streamline became apparent quickly as we are actually building this thing from scratch. Simplify the design, Critically look at every feature, and then split the remaining list into VERSION 1 and VERSION 2 features. With an achievable game plan in mind after some ruthless critique, work will continue next meeting moving forward.

 <<-- One Example of  VERSION 1 / VERSION 2 : Our original concept used a network connection to query a local offline database on our hackerspace access permissions. We decided to eliminate the Ethernet or WiFi Shield completely. The final concept was to use a local SD card in Version 1 NOW using an SD Shield, then replacing the the SD with an EyeFi  in version two LATER as a easier upgrade path.

Microcontroller Hardware - Our original concept used a combination of separate component systems to control subsystems. After we stripped down the project with a critical eye, we were confident that the entire controller could be operated by one Arduno.  In addition, our hardware has a multitude of I/O with all kinds of "cool" access methods.  This to was in the end stripped down to it's simplest form.  Another problem besides cost with a variety of cool access methods is that each method then becomes a new possible weak point in the system, and at the very least, another opportunity for exploitation.  

Locking Hardware - There are a few commercially available solutions the are viable. Most of them are of a higher price point than what we were willing to spend. Since CT Hackerspace includes a full metal shop and wood shop along with a 3D printer and buckets of printer parts, we decided to create our own solution. We plan on designing a servo system that spins a gear to turn a lock bolt.  It is simple and can be overridden in case of system failure.

Our final choice is to use an interactive LCD display that will use separate multi factor inquiries to permit access. (I strongly encourage making sure 2 factor authentication is built into the DNA of your project for higher security).  I met the creators of our LCD screen at Maker Faire NYC. ( ) Since this hardware is relatively new, we agreed to make sure to give feedback on the Rev.1 model for future improvements for Earthmake.

Picture of LCD

Although some of our I/O choices turned to be proprietary, we still believe in Open Sourcing the heart of the system design. I encourage anyone to pick up the Open Sesame project and create unique and better solutions. Make sure to share those ideas back with me!