We are just about to start a project to allow employees to log in and out of a FileMaker system using RFID tags. In the past we have done this by hanging a Phidget RFID reader directly off the back of a computer. In the past we have always had a computer available for the purpose but this project not only has the requirement for a number of readers to be distributed around a factory but the readers have to work substantially faster than FileMaker and an attached phidget can work.
The answer is to use an SBC 2. Effectively this is a computer in its own right.
The SBC2 has a raft of ports including digital ins and outs but in this case all we care about is the network and the USB ports.
The RFID reader is a straight forward connection using an USB A to B cable
The display is connected using a USB A to mini B connector. The connection is made to an adaptor board which then drives the actual display.
We hook the RFID reader and display panel up using USB like so.
And by magic we have a fully functioning pile of circuit boards on our desk! Connecting the power and network boots the whole lot up giving us access to the web service exposed by the SBC2. My colleague Rob Basden will write a blog in the next few days on how we communicate with the phidget and I will add a blog on building the above mess into a unit that we can actually ship to customers.