OpenBeacon Active RFID Project

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BruCON 2011, day 2 - OpenBeacon RFID Tag Proximity Data was used to build social network graph for second day over all tag IDs in the lounge area (in PDF and PNG format). You can also find the live version of this graph (including source code).
Active 2.4GHz OpenBeacon Proximity Tag was used to measure social interaction between BruCON 2011 participants and to track positions
OpenBeacon Sensor Tag with a 10K potentiometer and constant ADC converting the resistance every 132ms (2.4GHz transmit every 13 seconds and upon change) runs 6 years from a single CR2032 coin cell.
OpenBeacon Ethernet EasyReader PoE II
OpenBeacon @ Blinkenlights Stereoscope in Toronto


2009: Live Social Semantics with OpenBeacon tags

Welcome to the OpenBeacon Wiki

The OpenBeacon project was founded in 2006 by the Berlin located company Bitmanufaktur GmbH as an open platform for active RFID applications operating in the license free 2.4GHz ISM band. OpenBeacon is based on Open Source software and a very flexible and reprogrammable lowcost Open Source RFmodule. The firmware sources and hardware schematics are available under GPL license. We encourage the development of new ideas for OpenBeacon setups and firmware improvements.

This wiki collects and maintains all user and developer documentation of the Open Source and Open Hardware Active 2.4 GHz RFID reader system and our Open Source and Open Hardware active RFID tags.

See OpenBeacon Tracker API Installation for setting up the server API and example code applications on your own server. Feel free to browse our git source code repository or download the source code as Unix tar.bz2 archive file or Windows ZIP File file

OpenBeacon Hardware Projects


OpenBeacon Applications

RFID Realtime Tracking System

Location tracking using OpenBeacon tags can be implemented by running a OpenBeacon firmware that regularly transmits beacon packets. Such packets can then be received by OpenBeacon EasyReaderPoE base stations in the vicinity. Signals received by one or more base stations can then be used to estimate the position of the tag. Optional encryption can make sure, that only base stations inside the system can read the packet information.

Such an OpenBeacon based system has been deployed:

Indoor Locationing

A compact hardware version of the OpenBeacon USBnode base station is connected to a PDA device or laptop and receives beacon packets from stationary placed beacons. The base station computes its own position in respect to the deployed beacons and transmits this information to the PDA. The PDA can display a map or other location based information to the user.

Such an OpenBeacon based system has been deployed:

  • JMB – Jewish Museum in Berlin, Germany (permanent demo installation since 2008)
  • ongoing development in the EU project POSEIDON


Social Networking

The SocioPatterns sensing platform employs wearable electronic badges to sense sustained face-to-face proximity between persons –a proxy observable for social contact– with a fine spatial and temporal resolution. It has so far been utilized in fourteen deployments in which the SocioPatterns team was directly involved. Further deployments are being prepared. The platform has additionally been adopted by other research groups and commercial entities which have deployed it and/or are preparing future deployments. Complementing the development of this sensing platform, the SocioPatterns team also works on the development of tools and techniques to facilitate the representation, analysis and visualization of the data obtained from this platform.

Background information on OpenBeacon social networking features as used in our sister project SocioPatterns.org:

Wireless Remote Control System

The OpenBeacon RF interface can be combined with a dimmer for halogen lamps and can respond to transmissions from an OpenBeacon Ethernet Base station. Commands to control the brightness of the lamps in real time can be transmitted via Ethernet from a central computer and broadcasted to several lamps via an OpenBeacon Ethernet base station on each floor level.

Such an OpenBeacon based system has been deployed:

  • Blinkenlights Stereoscope art installation for the “Nuit Blanche” with OpenBeacon remote control of 960 lamps in realtime in each window of the City Hall of Toronto, Canada (2008)

Getting Started with OpenBeacon

OpenBeacon visitor tracking video in fast-forward of visitors of the 24C3 in the Berlin end of 2007

OpenBeacon Hardware Development