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Multicolored Keyless Entry System

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the simon-says-open-up dept.

Hardware Hacking 126

mollyhackit writes "Here's a how-to guide for building a keyless entry that uses color identification instead of numbers. All eight buttons are initially blue; as you press the individual buttons they change color. Cycle the colors to your particular pattern, and you're in. This lock obviously wasn't designed for high security use since anyone in the same room would be able to see you and your amazing technicolor dream lock's pattern; it's just a fun project and will keep the youngins out of your workshop (timer prevents brute forcing). The RGB buttons are monome clones from hobby shop Sparkfun."

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126 comments

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Flash ads on Slashdot... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23775213)

Bye.

Capitalism is dying. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23775609)

Marxism has now confirmed: Capitalism is dying.

Yet another crippling bombshell hit the beleaguered bourgeoisie when
Das Kapital confirmed that the rate of profit tends to fall
leading to crisis, war and the ultimate destruction of the capitalism
system. Coming on the heels of the latest economic data showing that
the US is entering a deep recession, this news serves to reinforce
what we've know all along. Capitalism is collapsing in complete disarray,
as further exemplified by failing dead last in the recent Sys Admin
comprehensive networking test.

You don't need to be a Lenin to predict capitalism's future. The hand
writing is on the wall: capitalism faces a bleak future. In fact there
won't be any future at for capitalism because capitalism is dying. Things
are looking very bad for capitalism. As many of us are already aware
surplus value (S) is redistributed among individual capitals by
competition leading to an average rate of profit (r) relative to the
organic composition of capital. In order to improve their position
individual capitalism must increase their production of surplus value;
either by increasing the length of working day, but this has
physiological limits or by increasing the constant capital used but
this leads to a fall in the average rate of profit.
Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

Capitalist leader George W Bush states that there 7000 capitalists.
How about members of the proletariat are there? Let's see. The number
of proletariats in America is roughly 200 million. Therefore
there are about 100000 workers which for each person with an
interest in capitalism. A recent article put the petty bourgeoisie at
a rapidly declining proportion of the population. This is consistent
with the predictions of the communist manifesto.

Due to the troubles of British imperialism, two world wars and so on,
European capitalism went out of business and was taken over by Yankee
imperialism who were also in trouble. Now US imperialism is also dead,
its venality and corruption exposed by its own creation, radical
Islam.

All major surveys show that capitalism has steadily declined in credibility.
Capitalism is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very
dim. If capitalism is to survive at all it will be as a fascist
dictatorship. Capitalism continues to decay. Nothing short of a miracle could
save it at this point in time. For all practical purposes, capitalism is
dead.
Capitalism is dying

Useful tool (4, Funny)

VincenzoRomano (881055) | more than 6 years ago | (#23775215)

to make jokes to your color-blind friend: replace his front door lock!

Re:Useful tool (3, Funny)

dk.r*nger (460754) | more than 6 years ago | (#23775811)

I would be equally "fun" to replace non-color-blind peoples front door locks.

Re:Useful tool (1, Informative)

chazd1 (805324) | more than 6 years ago | (#23776339)

This sort of so-called cleverness really gets me going. As said quite a percentage of Anglo males are color blind. Products from Asia have historically used these clever color codes on equipment because they are oblivious to color blindness. As a color blind person I get quite indignant when someone wants to use miulticolor LEDs and so on because it is elegant. Those things are impossible to use for me. This concept falls into the category of "So Simple no one can understand it!" Grrr.

Re:Useful tool (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23777035)

I'm fully colorblind, that's right, black and white. Color coding a lock is no big deal, just get the master key. I think a ten pound sledge would do.

Re:Useful tool (2, Insightful)

J'ai Friedpork (1293672) | more than 6 years ago | (#23777227)

Then don't buy those products. It's unreasonable to expect 90% of us to avoid using a technology because the remaining 10% can't. (Or, put another way, if I make something for myself, don't get worked up if you're different enough from me that it doesn't work for you as well.)

Re:Useful tool (1)

WK2 (1072560) | more than 6 years ago | (#23777415)

It's not like manufacturers advertise the "Must have full range of color vision" for their products. That's one of the reasons I buy stuff at places with a good return policy.

Disclaimer: I am not color-blind, but I have bought worthless crap that had to be returned.

Re:Useful tool (1)

VeNoM0619 (1058216) | more than 6 years ago | (#23777935)

I agree, how could they be so oblivious to color blind people? In fact, how could they be oblivious to BLIND people by making those lockers with combinations not written in braille and selling those? How could they be oblivious to AMPUTEES who can't use their hands to even move the locks? This can go on forever.

Just because someone isn't catering to every single minority, doesn't mean they do it on purpose to make you mad. Sometimes you can't account for every minority (like proven above), and sometimes its designed not to (maybe if no Asians have color blindness, then they don't want Anglo males to use their products?) For whatever reason, if they needed your business, then they would plan for it.

I am not colorblind, and I prefer this "wow" factory for it's BEAUTY. Don't ruin things for the rest of us...I would hate living in a gray world of braille.

Re:Useful tool (2, Informative)

DarthStrydre (685032) | more than 6 years ago | (#23778351)

Agreed. I am nearly red-green colorblind. For most things the color is obvious, red firetruck, brown grass, and I can tell that apart.

For red/green bicolor LEDs... I have the hardest time figuring which is which. I often have to resort to comparing the angle of light coming out of the LED, since it differs slightly depending on which color is active.

The problem is that typical bicolor LEDs have 'red' as 625nm, and Green at 565nm for a difference of 80nm. (Perhaps this is to reduce manufacturing cost?)

Tricolor INGaN LEDs have green at a more useful 525nm, and red at 630nm for a spread of 105nm. (Blue is at 465nm, but that doesn't count in this discussion).

This is enough for me to be able to distinguish the colors in a typical tricolor LED, but not the older bicolors.

So, that 8 port Gigabit router I bought that uses green for 100MBit, Red for 1Gbit (or the other way around) as a link indicator? No clue.

Amusing, but a problem for one in ten men? (5, Insightful)

SlashTon (871960) | more than 6 years ago | (#23775263)

It's a fun project and a cool toy, but I hope it would never see serious application.

Considering that between 7% and 10% of men are red-green color blind (other types of color blindness at a few percentage points). This kind of lock could pose serious problems for a significant part of the population.

"What? You set the password to the garage door to Red Green Green Red? Guess I'm walking to work again..."

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colorblindness [wikipedia.org]

Re:Amusing, but a problem for one in ten men? (1)

RuBLed (995686) | more than 6 years ago | (#23775419)

Easy solution: match each color change with an audio alert.

Harder solution: Finger electrocution based on the binary equivalent of the color.

An audio lock? Perhaps not a good idea. (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 6 years ago | (#23775591)

It might be rather a giveaway to anyone in a 20 foot radius unless you cover the thing with a duvet when pushing the buttons!

Re:Amusing, but a problem for one in ten men? (1)

severoon (536737) | more than 6 years ago | (#23775615)

Easier solution...don't use both green and red, just choose one. (Same goes for yellow and blue, the other kind of color blindness.) Or, go ahead and use both, but put a black dot in the center of red and blue.

Besides, this isn't really a problem after all. They can make colors look red and green to us normal people but still make them easily distinguishable, though not by hue, to color blind people. That's why there aren't more accidents at intersections controlled by (red and green) stoplights, even the ones hung sideways.

Re:Amusing, but a problem for one in ten men? (3, Informative)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 6 years ago | (#23776667)

The traffic lights have the benefit of fixed positioning. The red (or shade of grey, whichever you see) is ALWAYS at the top or left. With the lock created, the colors move, so you need to make sure that the intensity of the color is different so that you see light grey / dark grey or what have you.

Layne

Re:Amusing, but a problem for one in ten men? (1)

Tangent128 (1112197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23778117)

It's not just position- the green light actually has a bit of blue mixed into it.

Re:Amusing, but a problem for one in ten men? (2, Funny)

Petersson (636253) | more than 6 years ago | (#23775831)

Easy solution: match each color change with an audio alert.

Any suggestions for my colourblind + tonedeaf friends?

Re:Amusing, but a problem for one in ten men? (1)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 6 years ago | (#23776681)

Don't make it tones but sounds....I can just hear the See and Say voice now.

The button goes...MOOOO
The button goes...BAAAA

Even still, I'm pretty tone def and I can at least tell escalating pitch even if I can't match it vocally. As long as the colors and the pitches correspond, they should be ok.

Layne

Re:Amusing, but a problem for one in ten men? (1)

jslater25 (1005503) | more than 6 years ago | (#23777473)

My suggestion for your colorblind and tonedeaf friends would be to use a normal lock and key. Sometimes simple is best.

Re:Amusing, but a problem for one in ten men? (0)

shird (566377) | more than 6 years ago | (#23775433)

I've often wondered about peoples claim to colour blindness and their inability to distinguish red/green etc. While I'm sure they both look brown to them or whatever, surely the red and green would look like a different shade of brown? ie, red + green = dark brown + light brown, and they would still be able to open the lock. ?

Re:Amusing, but a problem for one in ten men? (5, Informative)

NMerriam (15122) | more than 6 years ago | (#23775493)

Only if the value is different can a color-blind person tell that the colors are different. If you tell them that the red is darker than the green, they can then tell you which one is darker than the other if they're next to each other, but if all they have is blue, brown, and yellow to choose from, they have no idea if that brown is the red or the green.

Re:Amusing, but a problem for one in ten men? (1)

Rufty (37223) | more than 6 years ago | (#23776271)

I'm colorblind. At a guess I'd say that means that 90% of my ability to tell red from green (or brown, or grey, or pink...) is missing. Put two colors next to each other and I can usually get it. Telling if that indicator LED is red or green? Unlikely.

Re:Amusing, but a problem for one in ten men? (5, Informative)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 6 years ago | (#23775595)

I'm colorblind.

Red-green, but not too badly. I get along just fine, but fuck those test patterns. There was some kind of a jumbo poster ad with that pattern, and the only time I was able to read it was at night, from a sufficient distance.

Certain shades of red, green, purple, brown and grey simply blend into each other. When I see something colored like that, I can't even name the color.
Kind of like someone tone-deaf guessing whether he heard a C or an E note. He can hear whether it was high or low, just like I see whether it is light or dark, but other than that, I simply cannot name it.

For instance, most of this /. page is green. Though it may be light brown.
The frame around the text field I'm typing my answer in is a different shade of green, but it might also be grey.
I'm leaning towards green, but I don't really see it.

Re:Amusing, but a problem for one in ten men? (3, Informative)

BugZRevengE (622917) | more than 6 years ago | (#23775619)

it.slashdot.org has brown as its colour, not green :-) So it is not the colour blind, but rather, poor design that makes the it section look crappy brown.

Re:Amusing, but a problem for one in ten men? (5, Funny)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 6 years ago | (#23775657)

it.slashdot.org has brown as its colour, not green :-) So it is not the colour blind, but rather, poor design that makes the it section look crappy brown.

Yay. You just proved me colorblind.

/mope

Re:Amusing, but a problem for one in ten men? (5, Interesting)

JPeMu (942971) | more than 6 years ago | (#23775717)

I'm red-green colour blind.

Many of the PopCap games (and similar) I have played where colour is significant have overlays shown (as an option) which aid me just fine, and I'm sure a similar thing would work here, even though that's assuming that the original would be unusable by someone colour blind.

The one thing that really used to irritate me was Teletext (before it faded into obsolescence) - Being unable to tell the difference between Green and Yellow, and Cyan and White made for trying times, especially when some insensitive clod chose green and yellow as two of the "fastext" colours. Oh, and chose blue for the cyan option (which looks white to me!).

I have no problem wiring a plug; only occasional problems wiring more complex items (whereby I am forced to use direct lighting to make the colour distinctions); and no problem with traffic lights. Only where I must choose between two shades that differ by red hue alone (or near enough) do I have problems. I know that red-green colour blindness is not the only kind, but it often feels like colour blindness is not considered when designing new products/websites etc. and I find that disappointing for lack of such a simple consideration.

Re:Amusing, but a problem for one in ten men? (4, Interesting)

Drogo007 (923906) | more than 6 years ago | (#23777781)

Me and my brother both used to work for the same game studio, and he's also Red-Green colorblind.

Anytime the devs came up with color as a way of differentiating things, we'd drag my bother to the screen and have him test the interface. It was sad, almost to the point of being funny, just how long it took them to make a usable color scheme somtimes

Re:Amusing, but a problem for one in ten men? (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 6 years ago | (#23779249)

Dark Age of Camelot uses color to distinguish the relative difficulty of mobs. Since release, they have also included +'s and -'s to give the same information (3 levels of difficulty in either direction relative to the player), purely to aid the color-blind.

Re:Amusing, but a problem for one in ten men? (1)

halcyon1234 (834388) | more than 6 years ago | (#23779349)

When doing some research for my Human-Computer Interface course, I came across a very useful tool for just this purpose:

Colour Contrast Analyser [juicystudio.com]

It includes some tools that help make sure your fore and background colors are sufficiently contrasty, even on a monochrome or black and white screen, or to a colorblind viewer

Re:Amusing, but a problem for one in ten men? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23775529)

You could still use it if you are not color blind - and if you carefully select the colors your lock will be 7% less vulnerable to shoulder surfing.

It's not a bug, it's a feature.

Re:Amusing, but a problem for one in ten men? (1)

jlebrech (810586) | more than 6 years ago | (#23775731)

No you are wrong, it would be bad for color blind burglars. Color blind homeowner would have to also be stupid to install one of those.

Re:Amusing, but a problem for one in ten men? (4, Informative)

Chapter80 (926879) | more than 6 years ago | (#23775787)

This kind of lock could pose serious problems for a significant part of the population.
Isn't that the idea of a lock? To make it difficult for OTHER PEOPLE to gain access?

Another note: The way this is currently designed, as was mentioned in TFA, others could see and memorize your secret pattern. But I think it'd be trivial to change it so that as you push a button, ALL of the colors potentially change. And the "combination" might be something like:
If Red and Green are paired together (one on top of the other), press the button to the right of the Red one. Otherwise, press the lower Right button. If you can do that 6 times in a row, you're in.

Such a pattern would be VERY difficult for someone to learn through observation. And with random displays, the combination (which keys to press) would virtually change every time. And you'd be locking out the color-blind burglars (and blind burglars too).

Unfortunately, though, that's the same combination as my luggage.

Re:Amusing, but a problem for one in ten men? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23776919)

I really like the "random numbers" idea. Why aren't ATMs using such keyboards? Trying to spy on your "code pattern" would be useless, which is one added security step.

Re:Amusing, but a problem for one in ten men? (1)

Chapter80 (926879) | more than 6 years ago | (#23777903)

Unfortunately, though, that's the same combination as my luggage.
Interesting? Informative? Shoot, I was going for Funny!

Apparently so were these other people: Spaceballs, [wikiquote.org] Diebold Voting Machines, [metafilter.com] The Virginia Lottery, [powerblogs.com] and Cold War Generals, [damninteresting.com]

Re:Amusing, but a problem for one in ten men? (2, Informative)

Lachlan Hunt (1021263) | more than 6 years ago | (#23775957)

Someone I know who is Red-Green colourblind once told me he could tell the difference between red and green lights because they lights have different intensities, or something like that. How do you think colour blind people deal with traffic lights?

Re:Amusing, but a problem for one in ten men? (2, Informative)

kennykb (547805) | more than 6 years ago | (#23776043)

Traffic engineers choose the colours carefully so that people with the common forms of colour blindness (including deuteranopes, like me) can distinuguish them. Incandescent traffic-light green (and aviation green) looks blue to me, but it doesn't look either red or yellow, so I don't get them confused. With LED traffic lights, the traffic engineers have found a green light that does look green to me.

Re:Amusing, but a problem for one in ten men? (2, Interesting)

kennykb (547805) | more than 6 years ago | (#23776091)

And (committing the sin of following up to myself), the designers of Epson projectors did not use similar care. For some years, the only status indication on the thing has been a single LED, which can be steady red Power off), flashing red (Powering down), steady green (Power on), flashing green (Powering up), or steady yellow (Lamp burnt out). I cannot for the life of me tell the colors apart, and I'm always doing things like powering down a projector that's just kicked into "power save" when I want to have it running.

Re:Amusing, but a problem for one in ten men? (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 6 years ago | (#23777311)

How do you think colour blind people deal with traffic lights?
Well, in the UK at least it's always Red at the top, then Amber in the middle and Green at the bottom.

So STOP is top-light, GO is bottom-light and anything else you can safely ignore...

Re:Amusing, but a problem for one in ten men? (1)

TheThiefMaster (992038) | more than 6 years ago | (#23778173)

Well the easiest way to tell is because they're always in the same order. I've yet to meet someone who gets up and down the wrong way round :P

There's also the "stop no matter what, and go if the person behind me uses their horn" method. I've heard that that works quite well.

Re:Amusing, but a problem for one in ten men? (1)

Lachlan Hunt (1021263) | more than 6 years ago | (#23778241)

Well the easiest way to tell is because they're always in the same order. I've yet to meet someone who gets up and down the wrong way round :P
That doesn't help at night when it's difficult, if not impossible, to see which position the light is in relation to the others.

Re:Amusing, but a problem for one in ten men? (1)

STrinity (723872) | more than 6 years ago | (#23780133)

How do you think colour blind people deal with traffic lights?
Traffic signals encode their messages by color and position -- even if you can't tell the colors apart, you can see whether it's the top or bottom light.

Re:Amusing, but a problem for one in ten men? (1)

Starayo (989319) | more than 6 years ago | (#23776323)

Considering that between 7% and 10% of men are red-green color blind (other types of color blindness at a few percentage points). This kind of lock could pose serious problems for a significant part of the population.


WHAT! Approximately one in ten men can't tell I'm dressed up in Christmas garb?

THIS IS A TRAVESTY!

Easier for Colorblind (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 6 years ago | (#23776397)

If you were color blind, you could make this easy for you (and similar color blind people) to open, but hard for "normals". The colors of the buttons are completely configurable, because they are generated by a tri-color LED. So all you have to do is choose a palette of colors that appear the same to you, and use them for the decoy keys. You would also choose a color that you can distinguish for the hot key. That way, us "normals" would see a bunch of random colored buttons, but you would see a bunch of brown buttons and one blue one (as an example).

Re:Amusing, but a problem for one in ten men? (3, Insightful)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 6 years ago | (#23776715)

Why the hell would someone or someone living with someone that was blind install one of these? No one is forcing you to use them. It's like saying "10% of the population is in wheel chairs. I hope stairs never see any sort of wide spread use".

Some people may be better with colors than numbers. Give them the option of making this their remote less garage door opener: "green green blue blue red purple green" garage door opens.

Re:Amusing, but a problem for one in ten men? (1)

Thanus (615133) | more than 6 years ago | (#23776905)

I have a few forms of color blindness; through the years, I've been able to see shapes, outlines, and distinctions in colors that people without my color blindness have extreme difficulty seeing, or can't see at all. It's my understanding that color blindness varies from person to person, so why not either make a variety of color locks tailored just to the color blindness of the user? This could be done in a similar manner as the circular tests often used to diagnose color blindness. I understand this sort of lock is only openable by a very few people (and potentially a machine), but that could be a good thing depending on what is being guarded.

Re:Amusing, but a problem for one in ten men? (1)

Ucklak (755284) | more than 6 years ago | (#23777481)

Reminds me of Land of the Lost [blogger.com] and the pylon control panel that controlled the weather.

Fortunately (1)

dlaudel (1304717) | more than 6 years ago | (#23779169)

Fortunately, I've learned you can bypass the lock pretty easily by clipping the red wire.

Why? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23775269)

Why is this article here?

While occasional steps backwards are inevitable... (0, Redundant)

patio11 (857072) | more than 6 years ago | (#23775273)

... I fail to see how a lock which is inferior to existing locks in every possible way AND is not cool, unless you are a four year old who has just learned the word "blue", is in any way interesting. Aside from "count how many extra attacks and failure modes we make possible just by mapping a numeric key to color codes".

Failure mode: You can remember numbers in a sequence much better than you can remember colors, because you've been taught forever that numbers are sequential data and colors have never been taught to you that way aside from the rainbow. (Which you have to remember with a mnemonic anyway, despite it being the ONE color sequence you will ever learn in your life!)

Failure mode: Color blind people, a non-trivial percent of the population. (Folks with generically impaired vision, too, since it is presumably harder to make the order of cycled colors obvious than it is to make the order of cycled numbers obvious.)

Re:While occasional steps backwards are inevitable (5, Insightful)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 6 years ago | (#23775319)

Well, look out captain obvious.

The whole point of this is that the person putting this together might enjoy the experience of putting it together, get satisfaction from a finished product and have a cool novelty way of opening or closing a door.

Do you think that people making transistor radios do it for fun, or because they think that $20 worth of electronic junk from a electronic junk store will give them better sound than a manufactured stereo system?

I rarely go to this level of pointing out a clear case of "swing and miss" with a reply/post - but wow!

Re:While occasional steps backwards are inevitable (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23775511)

So now this is a hobby site? News for HOBBYISTS? OK...

Re:While occasional steps backwards are inevitable (5, Insightful)

Stooshie (993666) | more than 6 years ago | (#23775649)

... So now this is a hobby site? News for HOBBYISTS? OK ...

I don't know, but you may be a professional electronic locksmith and for you this might be just a play-thing.

But for me, a programmer, this is interesting and a good introduction to building a small piece of hardware. I know shamefully little about electronics (well, what I can remeber from 1st year uni. physics)

Doesn't stop me being a nerd though.

Re:While occasional steps backwards are inevitable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23775335)

How I see it is that the colors change location after each touch. This would be practical for finger-print residual on the screen: The keys pressed are in no relevance to the code. ( As the right 'key' changes ). This also allows the keys to be worn out evenly.

Although... This idea is in no way relevant to color. ( It's just easier to make the display change with a single color than a specific design )

Re:While occasional steps backwards are inevitable (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23775447)

aside from the rainbow. (Which you have to remember with a mnemonic anyway, despite it being the ONE color sequence you will ever learn in your life!)

Maybe I'm just too geeky, but in addition to ROYGBIV, I've also learnt the shorter sequences RGB and CMYK.

Re:While occasional steps backwards are inevitable (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 6 years ago | (#23775483)

Fine. Replace it with LED digits then. Happy? :P

Dads workshop (1)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | more than 6 years ago | (#23775281)

I think any kid over four could figure it out by watching a couple of times...

Re:Dads workshop (1)

kiberovca (524346) | more than 6 years ago | (#23775391)

Actually, I remember my cousins when they were around 3 years old, they always beat the crap out of me in any kind of memory game. So saying that this lock would prevent kids to entering only shows that some people really don't understand (or have no contact whatsoever with) the kids. Or what they (the kids) are capable of.

Re:Dads workshop (3, Insightful)

jrumney (197329) | more than 6 years ago | (#23775475)

I think you underestimate the capabilities of 3, 2 and even 1 year olds. My youngest is 20 months old, and any "child-proof" device to keep him out of things is useless already. My kids can get things apart that I didn't even know came apart, and when I ask them, they show me how they did it, so its not just random brute force they're using.

Re:Dads workshop (1)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 6 years ago | (#23776973)

Smaller fingers fit between the snap together plastic cases a lot better than our pudgy little digits........

Layne

Tot Lok (3, Informative)

Slashdot Parent (995749) | more than 6 years ago | (#23778801)

My kids were never able to defeat Tot Lok [amazon.com] .

They are a pain in the rear to install, but once installed properly, your kid is not going to get that cabinet or drawer open before you figure out what's going on.

That's the whole idea, really--to slow them down. Just make sure you put the key someplace that the kid can't get to without constructing some serious access ramp.

You want the parental, "Just what do you think your doing?" to refer to constructing a ramp rather than you kid spraying her little brother with Raid because "he was bugging her".

Actually useful (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23775323)

One reason it's useful - if you have a door lock with a code, you wear the numbers away on the keys that form the code, significantly reducing security. For instance, I have a bank card widget (standard in some parts of Europe) which I need to authenticate with my bank by means of challenge-response; it eventually becomes obvious what your card PIN is because those numbers wear more, and the object itself becomes a security risk. This way, your software can ensure even use of buttons.

Blind people and the colourblind need not apply, however...

Re:Actually useful (3, Funny)

RuBLed (995686) | more than 6 years ago | (#23775397)

That is why I always insist that my PIN uses all the available numbers in the numeric keypad.

Re:Actually useful (1)

Stooshie (993666) | more than 6 years ago | (#23775689)

You have a 10 digit pin number?!?!?

Re:Actually useful (3, Funny)

BrotherBeal (1100283) | more than 6 years ago | (#23776169)

Or a binary keypad.

Re:Actually useful (1)

Stooshie (993666) | more than 6 years ago | (#23776459)

... or a binary keypad ...

Hope it's not 128-bit encryption then? ;-) You'd have to memorize a 32-digit hex number and convert to binary on the fly.

Would you still have only 3 chances to get it right? Would the queues go on for ages while they waited for people to get their code right?

Hey, maybe that's a new CAPTCHA to make sure you are a techy?

Re:Actually useful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23777005)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 :p

Re:Actually useful (1)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 6 years ago | (#23777019)

I used to have a 10 digit pin (this was in 1995/1996 with Wells Fargo). It was fine for the ATM, but this was also about the same time I started seeing self-swipe payment devices at registers. Most of them could only handle the 4 digit variety. I actually picked my grocery store based on which one would take my 10 digit pin (I paid cash or check everywhere else).

Since, I've stuck to the less secure 4 digit variety because it's convenient.

Layne

Re:Actually useful (1)

SlashTon (871960) | more than 6 years ago | (#23775439)

it eventually becomes obvious what your card PIN is because those numbers wear more, and the object itself becomes a security risk. This way, your software can ensure even use of buttons.
Interesting point, I had never considered that. But there are much simpler ways of resolving that than going to a color locking scheme? Touch screen widget which cycles the placement of the numbers on the screen for example?

Although that would create other issues of course, many people (myself included) seem to remember PINs more by the 'gestures' (movement of my finger) than the number. I find I have to think real hard to come up with the PIN, but when I imagine typing it on a pad, it comes easy.

Hmm... I think I went far enough off topic now, sorry.

Re:Actually useful (1)

Stooshie (993666) | more than 6 years ago | (#23775681)

... Blind people and the colourblind need not apply, however ...

Presumably, for any colour combination, each key is hit a certain number of times meaning that colour blind people would remember the number of times each button is pressed.

In fact, wouldn't that get over the problem of people being able to see the colour combo. just don't display the combo, but memorize the number of presses on each button.

Re:Actually useful (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#23775925)

Considering the colours are moving around, how is remembering the number of times pressed going to help if they can't distinguish between certain colours?

Re:Actually useful (1)

Stooshie (993666) | more than 6 years ago | (#23776343)

... Considering the colours are moving around ...

No they're not, according to the article:

... flashing blue buttons while it's idle ...

and

... On key presses, the keys will change colors ...

presumably in some fixed order.

This means that all you have to do is memorise the number of keypresses. In a more secure mode the lights wouldn't even have to be on.

Re:Actually useful (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#23776789)

The colours move around when you press a button, I didn't say that they are constantly moving, that would be pretty awkward if you press it just as it's going to change. If the colours were going to move in a fixed order, why are people here saying that this is a good method to spread wear across all the keys rather than just a few keys getting worn down. If it's going to be a fixed order, why change the colours at all?

Re:Actually useful (1)

Stooshie (993666) | more than 6 years ago | (#23779307)

OK, if it's a random order the colours change in then you are correct. My apologies.

If not then all your colour are belong to me!!! :-P

:-)

Re:Actually useful (1)

Evanisincontrol (830057) | more than 6 years ago | (#23777575)

In fact, wouldn't that get over the problem of people being able to see the colour combo. just don't display the combo, but memorize the number of presses on each button.

I think you missed out on one of the details of this device. The colors of the buttons change -- randomly, at that -- every time you press a button. In this way, the button-pressing pattern is dynamic. When I push a blue button the first time, even though I know I have to push red next, I don't necessarily know where red is going to be.

Re:Actually useful (1)

twistah (194990) | more than 6 years ago | (#23776597)

I don't know if these are made anymore (they may have given way to today's prox cards), but the problem you describe can also be addressed by a "scramble pad." They look like keypads but each button is actually a little LED screen. When you press a button combo, it displays numbers 0-9 in a random order. The numbers can only be seen when looking straight at the key pad. This method is useful not only against the wear you describe, but is also a good deterrent to "shoulder surfing" as well.

Scramble pad! (1)

bwb (6483) | more than 6 years ago | (#23777661)

Yep. A financial institution I used to work for had access to the area behind the tellers secured by a mechanical code lock with some silly code like 321 or 123. Guess which buttons had all the paint worn away? :)

Let me know when some one makes a scramble pad [isc365.com] consumer door lock.

Simon says... (1)

Bill Dog (726542) | more than 6 years ago | (#23775383)

Cycle the colors to your particular pattern, and you're in.

And then of course you'll need one of these [wikipedia.org] to generate a really hairy, secure pattern for yourself.

Here's what I would like to know... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23775415)

...Do Slashdot "editors" get paid? Or are they high school interns?

Keep the youngins out of your workshop? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23775457)

What are you up to?
People like that scare me more than "terrorists": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fritzl_incest_case

Be careful with this (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 6 years ago | (#23775583)

Be careful with this, especially if you live in Boston.

i had a keyless entry system a while ago (3, Funny)

LM741N (258038) | more than 6 years ago | (#23775587)

but after using the sledge hammer, each time I would have to buy a new door. Got expensive. I'd recommend a key

This reminds me of those buttons on Star Trek (2, Interesting)

Drinking Bleach (975757) | more than 6 years ago | (#23775617)

(the original series, that is)

Would make kind of a fun retro-future thing.

Woof! (1)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 6 years ago | (#23775639)

This lock obviously wasn't designed for high security use since anyone in the same room would be able to see you and your amazing technicolor dream lock's pattern;

Thank God! Now my dog wont be able to get in.

Why do I feel like this summary was written just for the "amazing technicolor dream lock" pun.

Re:Woof! (1)

WK2 (1072560) | more than 6 years ago | (#23777475)

This lock obviously wasn't designed for high security use since anyone in the same room would be able to see you and your amazing technicolor dream lock's pattern

That's OK. Regular locks aren't designed for high security either.

Task based locks (3, Interesting)

sprintkayak (582245) | more than 6 years ago | (#23775727)

I've always liked the idea of a task based lock.

Not necessarily more secure, though.

A few ideas:

  • Play a tune on piano keys (sound off for more security).
  • Non trivial math: how many people can integrate sec^3? How many B&E type criminals can?
Any other ideas?

Re:Task based locks (2, Funny)

RuBLed (995686) | more than 6 years ago | (#23775865)

Replace your welcome home mat with a Dance Dance Revolution pad...

Burglar could get in after perfecting PARANOiA Survivor MAX...

Re:Task based locks (2, Funny)

J'ai Friedpork (1293672) | more than 6 years ago | (#23777103)

Non trivial math: how many people can integrate sec^3? How many B&E type criminals can?
I can't, but my crowbar got me through math class before and can do it again.

Re:Task based locks (1)

halcyon1234 (834388) | more than 6 years ago | (#23779471)

Play a tune on piano keys (sound off for more security).

Hell, combine music and color. Hook this bad boy up to a wireless Guitar Hero controller. Want in the house? Blast off a chorus from Jordan on Expert [youtube.com] . (Be prepared to sleep on the lawn).

'Dig' aliens have prior art (1)

Werrismys (764601) | more than 6 years ago | (#23775735)

In the lucasarts game DIG, the ancient aliens use locks with colored geometric shapes.

Re:'Dig' aliens have prior art (1)

ellenbee (978615) | more than 6 years ago | (#23775885)

yea I remember that. I like the key's in "the lawnmower man"

unnecessary tech (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 6 years ago | (#23776103)

Take a well-working technique: numeric keypads. Replace it with an unfamiliar interface, where the baddies can see from further away, especially in the dark, what the solution is. Fail to account for one of the most common disabilities (colour blindness) and you have an utterly pointless application of technology for it's own sake.

Finally, what do you do when one of the lights fail?

Avoid.

Re:unnecessary tech (1)

J'ai Friedpork (1293672) | more than 6 years ago | (#23777039)

So you're saying I shouldn't build model rockets because I can't carry a payload into orbit with one?

If I use the instructions on a hobby site to add a cool-looking LED board to my bedroom door, I'm not going to be fretting over whether a color-blind man can use it, nor over the security flaws. (Unless the color blind man is myself or my roommate works for the CIA.) Also, if the LED fails, you can unlock the door the old-fashioned way. That's sort of why those electronic strikeplates exist.

LEGO Star Wars (1)

kj_kabaje (1241696) | more than 6 years ago | (#23776229)

Now the life-art circle is complete. LEGO Star Wars has a light based lock as one of it's puzzles, too. Took my color blind brother a while to get into Jabba's skiff, but hey, it was a fun level.

Legend on Zelda Anyone? (1)

bemo56 (1251034) | more than 6 years ago | (#23776403)

This reminds me of numerous puzzles in the Legend of Zelda series of games. What next? Targets obscured by spinning disks that you have to hit with arrows three times?

Actually that'd be great for nerd kudos

How does the programmer know what color is set? (1)

doojsdad (1162065) | more than 6 years ago | (#23776943)

A normal keypad will set high 2 lines in a known configuration that a programmer could check. A quick skim on sparkfun yielded no schematic that would tell me how to program this thing. I wonder how you know what color is currently activated?

Interesting Twist (1)

grnrckt94 (932158) | more than 6 years ago | (#23777111)

What would be interesting would be a numeric keypad that displayed the numbers on random buttons after every keypress, thus making it even more difficult for someone to gain unauthorized access by lifting fingerprints or using heat sensing technology.

instead of 123456 as the most common password.... (1)

JoshEanes (1172285) | more than 6 years ago | (#23777573)

Now it's ROYGBIV!

randomness? (1)

SCHecklerX (229973) | more than 6 years ago | (#23778297)

If I read this right, you have to hit a button multiple times to change the color (yuk, this is why I finally replaced my old cell with a blackberry to talk to a txt-addicted g/f). What is the implication of this, if any? Ie, your combo would be something like: 3322241116777

Re:randomness? (1)

tick_and_bash (1256006) | more than 6 years ago | (#23779857)

Well, if that's your combo, then you're 7777666555.

(Grab a phone if you can't figure that out.)

wireless locks? (1)

Gyorg_Lavode (520114) | more than 6 years ago | (#23779089)

Why do we not see many wireless locks such as a bluetooth lock? Why can't I pair my device with my door and send a code to open it? Thats what I'd like to see.
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