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RFID Ignites Interest in Nazi Explosives Museum

The Exploseum Military Technology Center, in Poland, is using passive HF and UHF RFID tags to provide access to visitors to the site's various sections, as well as monitor each guest's location.
By Claire Swedberg
Feb 02, 2016

A museum at a Polish World War II-era explosives factory is testing a radio frequency identification solution to track its visitors' locations. The system also provides access control as the tourists explore its abandoned tunnels, production line and warehouses.

The Exploseum Military Technology Center consists of a cluster of seven buildings used for the DAG Fabrik Bromberg explosives factory built by Germany during World War II. The site was the source of explosives manufactured by the German military during the war, and was manned largely by Polish prisoners of war. The museum features one of the factory's two nitroglycerin production lines, says Kinga Długosz, the Exploseum Military Technology Center's finance and administration deputy director.

Smart Technology Group installed seven of its UHF RFID reader antennas in the museum's building and tunnels to capture the IDs encoded to the lanyards' UHF RFID inlays.
The site, which consists of warehouses and factory buildings joined by an underground tunnel network, opened its doors to the general public in July 2011. Until recently, the facility was accessible only by visitors accompanied by a guide who opened locked doors between one building or tunnel and another, due to the potential hazards that could befall an unaccompanied guest. "Visiting had been restricted to specific hours—even for one person," Długosz says.

Smart Technology Group's Karolina Kozłowska
However, with risks aside, the Military Technology Center determined that the best way for visitors to experience the site was to allow them to walk around independently. Therefore, the Military Technology Center asked Smart Technology Group, a Swiss and Polish technology firm, to develop a solution combining ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) and high-frequency (HF) RFID technology to control access and monitor visitors as they move around the premises.

Exploseum is far from a typical museum, says Karolina Kozłowska, Smart Technology Group's president. Tourists could become lost in the large area, she explains, or suffer a medical emergency and be unable to request assistance.

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