Announcing The OpenDoor Hackathon!

Jordan | Posted 2010.11.22 at 9:12 pm | Perma

The OpenDoor Hackathon is a hackathon to benefit the members of hacker/maker/artist/co-working spaces by creating a standardized, Open Source access and membership management system that can be used by everyone. At the end of the hackathon, the systems (or subsystems) created by each space will be voted upon, and the best system (or combination of systems) will be chosen. Implementing the system afterward is, of course, optional.

Why are we doing this?
I know, the word “standardized” sends chills down my spine too, but I assure you that this is a good thing! Deciding upon a common system would enable the following things:

  • The ability to share membership between spaces
  • Crowd-sourced security enhancements and feature additions
  • Easier membership management
  • A warm fuzzy feeling of being connected with other spaces

What we’re envisioning (and what many of you already have) is a sort of Reciprocikey or Space Passport system. We believe that the only way to create such an awesome system is to work together on it!

More Focus for your brain meats:

Prize of an Ice Tube Clock from Adafruit for the space who best implements the standardization of interface specification between custom softwares and access control. Each space will review submissions at x time on Sunday and rank the systems they would most like to use (you cannot vote for your own). The runner up will receive a Minty Boost pack.
You can also vote on best hardware system, most elegant code, best independent member management software – the top three of each will receive Minty Boost packs, also via Adafruit.

Systems needed:

  • Software for access control (reads from memory stored users and network user databases)
    • Create a functional specification for how authentication can be done securely.
  • Software that manages membership rights (grants rights/features to users based on conditions specified by managers
    • Standardize an interface specification for how custom software can talk to the access control software interface.
      • example: 3rd party space has a member visiting, presents auth token.
      • example: someone wants to create a custom trusted UI (web, phone, etc.) for talking to the auth daemon
  • Web, phone, etc UI for membership management and access control software
    • Involve user interface management.  See what tools people are using today to manage membership and build hooks in the software to manage access control, or build your own.
  • Hardware for reading identity (RFID reader, USB stick, etc.)
    • Build plug-ins to support common hardware (don’t get stuck on any given vendor).

When is the OpenDoor Hackathon?
The OpenDoor Hackathon will begin on Saturday, December 11th at 2pm PST, ending 24 hours later at 2pm PST on Sunday, December 12th.

How do I sign up?
You can register your space’s team at the Eventbrite here!

Join the conversation at!

Categories : fun  hackers  hackerspace  hacking  organization  people


  1. Why is this limited to RFID?

    strages, November 23, 2010
  2. I get that people like RFID, but that’s not the only good cheap access system that could be created. Maybe you could open up the authentication tokens to the other realms of something-you-know and something-you-are? Or Alternative something-you-haves?

    omegix, November 23, 2010
  3. even if rfid sounds trendy, usb sticks are cheap and common, while sdcards are simple to read with arduinos. both have the benefit of not leaking the info via radio, and being widely compatible with existing hardware.

    stef, November 24, 2010
  4. I’d strongly suggest staying away from just RFID as well. the better way to go would be to just have a hash that gets verified – let the actual access control hardware generate that hash. That way, you could support much more then just RFID.

    Our current solution is a barebones dorkboard (arduino clone) with a very simple custom circuit for handling a relay. It also has a serial control protocol, but since it has it’s own internal access database, it can be used without a computer. I’d love to see a standard for talking to custom access control hardware, something I can implements, with decent binding on the PC side.

    Loki, November 24, 2010
  5. Good call guys. RFID was merely a suggestion for ease of use for those less technically minded. I’ll be updating the post to reflect that it should just be a general “access and membership management system.”

    Jordan, November 25, 2010
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