Here’s how to automagically open doors at home or at work with a tap on your wrist
What’s an Apple Watch good for? How about unlocking doors with just a tap on an app? We figured out how do something no one else has done for under 150 bucks, using standard door-strike hardware, our custom app, and a tiny RFduino microcontroller. In this Weekend Project we’ll show you exactly how to do it.
We started this project to help solve a real-world problem: prevent our employees from being locked out of our office. Our security system automatically locks the doors outside of normal business hours. If someone steps out of the office without their security card or keyfob, they’re locked out. When this happens, people use their phone to call or email people at the office to let them back in. This showed us that people may forget their security card — but they don’t forget their phone. With this insight, we set out to create an mobile app that would serve as a virtual security card. The Apple Watch would make this even more convenient, and since Apple Watch apps are extensions of iPhone apps, we created a bundle that includes both apps.
Beyond the convenience of allowing people to securely open doors with the Apple Watch, we had three main goals for this project:
We didn’t want to compromise or complicate our existing security system during this process. To this end, we made sure all existing keys would work as they did before, and chose our hardware and approach to ensure this.
This project is built on these main components:
This project can be used by multiple people in a household, and we’ve created the ability to share the doors and virtual keys between users. (For our company, we used a different approach that leverages our authentication services, so it’s automated.)
This project tutorial outlines the steps required to turn a normal door into a door that can be opened remotely using the Apple Watch (or iPhone, if you don’t have an Apple Watch).
All source code for this project is available as open source software on GitHub and can be modified to suit your needs. This repository includes the source code for the iPhone and Apple Watch app, code for the RFduino, the circuit diagram, and a link to the App Store version of the app.
Learn more about how and why we created this project, on our blog.
You’ll need about 12–16 hours to build this project, at a cost of about $100 per door. The door strike is $60 and the electronics for the door module are about $40.