Personalized Access Control System for the Student Project House


Acos is a personalized access control and data collection systems  developed in the Student Project House. It is based on off-the-shelf components and offers an always increasing amount of functionality.

How does it work?

The system is working on off the shelf components and custom code. The basic hardware functionality can be explained as following: The card read gets the card ID and hands it over to the brain of the system. Here all the data is save in database. The touch interface then give the user to select between the different functionalities.

When a machine or a locker is used, a data package is wirelessly send to microcontrollers which then activate relay boards.


[August of 2017 ] We are proud that we had so much interest on our system at ISAM 2017, where we presented our project. the corresponding poster can be found here.

[February of 2018] Since the summer of 2017 the system was further developed. In addition to the basic machine control functionality user tracking and data collection was improved. Also the system is now able to smart control lockers. This could have a variety of use case, from tools to personal lockers.

[October of 2018] Over the last months we developed a shop and storage management system. By tracking the storage numbers our system can remind the owner to order new materials and give feedback on the material usage. At this moment we are using either a tree system or an add by ID shop system. The plan is to implement a barcode based system as soon as we find time. 3d prints are now automatically billed including pdf bills that are send out automatically.

Like planned we finished the work on our dead man system that turns off machines if a user does not press a button in a given time interval even after the optical and audible signals have been activated.

In addition to this we are working hardly to implement the first acos 400 system, that is capable of controlling 400V three phase power, in the Student Project House before the end of the month.


As of right now the team is working hard on putting the finishing touches on acos 400 and reworking all electronic to custom PCBs. Besides this we are having interviews with potential customers to improve our product for a potential marked start.


The system is build around a base station which costs around 150$ and a receiver unit for every machine you want to control. This receiver unit, which is a small box that is inserted into the power cord, only costs 7$. All components are off-the-shelf parts which is the reason for the small pricetag. For most makerspaces, you will only need one base station but adding another one is easy to do.
When a student scans his/her ID Card, the system checks if the user is registered and if so offers him to turn on machines he/she is allowed to use. Then a command is send to a micro-controller over WiFi which then turns on the relay.

The intended use of the system can be summarized as follows:

  • Check for users authentication
  • Secure machines against wrong use
  • Log who used a machine (backlog in case of damage)
  • Create precise statistics on use to improve the Makerspace
  • Get valuable data for machine maintenance

The constructed prototype does not only largely simplify the access control to the space, machines and other services in a scalable manner, but also generates valuable data. Given the user’s input (log in to/out of Makerspace, log in/off for machine use or other services), the Makerspace managers can log the time and duration of use, as well as the amount of uses for every user and project. A variety of user data is basically unlimited. Right now we only track the gender, field of study and the status of study (Bachelor, Master, PhD., Staff). Furthermore, it forces the users to take more care of the machines as any defect could be traced back to the person responsible.
As a next step further IoT applications like a LED-sign can be implemented which makes the system a central component of the Makerspace in the Student Project House.

The big pros of this system are the following

  • Custom Programming
  • Flexible Machine Control
  • Wireless
  • Cheap
  • IoT integration
  • Any metric can be implemented

This screenshot of the user interface shows all of the different options for machine status that are available right now.

Furter information and contact

A comprehensive overview in form of a poster that was presented at ISAM 2017 can be found here.

For further information please contact us via