RFID (radio-frequency identification) is the wireless non-contact use of radio-frequency electromagnetic fields, for the purposes of identifying and tracking tags attached to objects.
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This is the ID-12LA, a very simple to use RFID reader module from ID Innovations. With a built in antenna, the only holdup is the 2mm pin spacing (breakout board available below). Power the module, hold up a 125kHz card, and get a serial string output containing the unique ID of the card.
The new ID-12LA is essentially the same as the ID-12, but has a lower voltage input.