RFID reading

Anyone ever try to read RFID cards?  I have worked a lot with barcodes and I'd like to upgrade to RFID.  We have HID access badges here at the office.  I'm wondering if I can read the cards to identify users.  I'm not sure what is on the cards, but all I want to read is any unique value to ID the user and preferably use some kind of keyboard emulation as a barcode reader would do.  I saw a cheap reader that may or may not work - omnikey 5321.  I don't know enough about the card technologies to know if it's even compatible with the cards we have and what exactly it sends to the application.  I did find a USB reader (RFID RW) that mentions keyboard emulation but the company is in Portugal and there is no price listed.  Anyone ever try RFID integration?  Could really use some advice.
artpolkAsked:
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tbsgadiCommented:
Have a look at the following for more information on omnikey 5321
http://www.omnikey.com/?id=products&tx_okprod_pi1%5Bproduct%5D=41


Gary
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Jim Dettman (Microsoft MVP/ EE MVE)President / OwnerCommented:
artpolk,
  I was waiting to see if others jumped in, but since it doesn't look like to much is forth coming, I'll toss in the few things I know.  I have not worked with RFID technology myself, but am familiar with the concepts.  RFID is used in a wide variety of applications and there are two basic types; active and passive.  Active units contain a battery and can send out a signal on their own.  Passive responds to a transmitted signal.  Your badge system would be the passive type.
  From a conceptual standpoint in terms of development, reading a passive RFID chip would be no different then reading a bar code; your going to get a string of numbers.  
  With RFID being new, you'd probably only find USB and/or keyboard type wedge devices.  I think the thing to focus on is the standards.  There should be something on your cards or something that you can get from the provider of the cards as to what standards they conform to.  Then you just need a reader that supports that standard.  This is no different then having different bar code symbologies.
 I've been poking around on this for a bit because one of my clients has Wal-mart as a customer and they are pushing into the use of RFID in a big way.  It seems though that in their application (incoming pallets), that it is somewhat costly to implement and because it is contact-less, reads are only about 80% accurate because the packaging diminishes the signal.
  That's about all I know and I hope it was somewhat helpful.  I really don't consider this answer though, so no points here please.
JimD.
0

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