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June 21, 2017 AT 5:00 am

How to Hack a Bus Pass for Practical Wearable Tech #WearableWednesday #wearabletech #DIY

Transit passes often take the form of cards, whether they be swipe or NFC (Near Field Communication). They are thin, but unless you wear them like a badge around your neck they are easy to lose in a pocket and clumsy to fish out of a purse. A post on Hackaday shares Stephen Cognetta’s dream of traveling light. This guy means business, and according to the post he wants to “get the total number of things he owns down below 115.” So, you can imagine he is really looking for ways to get a bus pass onto another useful object. He’s taken a San Francisco Clipper Card and given it an acetone bath, which you can duplicate with his Instructable.

Of course the real fun is deciding what the new home for the parts will be. The go-to moldable Sugru is one suggestion, which results in something like a key fob. Since a card is used by a hand, a ring or bracelet seems to make the most sense (with the exception of a cyborg solution). This is where 3D printing could come in handy, as well as some off-the-shelf jewelry findings. A textile wristband could also be the way to go for a softer solution, especially one that uses vinyl as well as a protective shell to keep parts protected from moisture. Unfortunately the real issue stems from the rules about hacking transit cards in the first place. So, it seems that even if you can make the wearable, you would still need to carry around a facsimile of the card and pretend to use it so as not to look suspicious. It all just seems counter-productive, but I would have to say that I would prefer to go with the hack. This situation reminds me of one of my fave learning guides here at Adafruit—Unlocking an Android Phone with NFC. Don’t let the tame name fool you because one of the solutions involves a very special manicure. It’s not quite cyborg, but it is tech chic. What would you create for a wearable NFC solution?


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