acetone

Un-concealing some embedded electronics

November 5, 2015 - Radical Pedagogies

acetone

I have been deconstructing some of the objects that I use regularly to see what the electronic systems are like inside. Below I have documented what the system looks like, and how the materials are embedded. The green lines in the diagram illustrates where the traces live in the object.

TRAVEL CARD:
clipper_takeApart
rfid

rfid1
rfid2

Travel cards were soaked in acetone for 2 weeks, the tag and antenna peeled away very easily. The antenna is made from thin copper wire

PASSPORT:
passport1
The passport was steamed open -the tag is inside the back page, and traces are made with conductive ink.

passport
passport_inside

passport-chip-full
On previous iterations of e-passports the tag was visible and very similar to the travel-card above.

CREDIT CARD:
credid_take_apart
chipandpin
The credit card was made with a super material that could not be steamed or soaked. I ended up using a knife to make very messy cutting away to reveal the embedded traces, which were made from very thin copper. I couldn’t extract the antenna in one piece as it was so integrated into the plastic material. But the chip was really easy to remove, and came apart from the card within a day of soaking.

creditcard
insidecreditcard