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Mementos as Document Retrieval Keys

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the johnny-mnemonic dept.

Technology 167

Dekaner writes "The BBC is running a story that BT has demonstrated a scanner that can be used to retrieve digital documents by associating them with a physical object. When the digital files are stored on the server, they are associated with a scanned image of the object, for example a seashell. Later, when the user wants to retrieve the files, the memento is again placed on the scanner. The resulting image is used as the retrieval key."

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167 comments

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FIRST FUCK!!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5871150)

FUCK IT! SUCK IT! BITCH!

woooh (1)

C_nemo (520601) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871151)

glad I'm not a zoologist. damn....

The bane of the photocopier... (3, Funny)

Winterblink (575267) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871152)

I can see a lot of people using their asses as the "memento"...

Re:The bane of the photocopier... (1)

Uber Banker (655221) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871179)

damn, just when i barcoded daily instructions over my chest

Re:The bane of the photocopier... (2, Insightful)

grishnav (522003) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871187)

Your crappy joke not withstanding, it makes you wonder just how well it will be able to identify individual momento's. Will it be able to distinguish one person's ass from another? Or more practically, palm? Fingerprint?

Re:The bane of the photocopier... (1)

Winterblink (575267) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871200)

Your abrasive attitude notwithstanding, I'm betting the thing probably takes a decent resolution snap of the object. Probably nothing so high rez to distinguish between a person's fingerprints maybe, but probably on the order of a regular home scanner.

Re:The bane of the photocopier... (2, Informative)

grishnav (522003) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871225)

You utter lack of appreciation for sarcasm notwithstanding, "home-use" style scanners with resolutions in the order of 2000+dpi are not uncommon, and resolution is only getting better. I know from personal experience that 1600 dpi can easily capture a persons fingerprint, with detail easily surpassing traditional inkpad methods.

Re:The bane of the photocopier... (2, Insightful)

Winterblink (575267) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871241)

Not a big surprise that police agencies use scanners now for taking fingerprints direct into their computer systems. It'd be interesting to see how this system works out, especially how it compares to conventional cryptographic key generation methods.

Re:The bane of the photocopier... (1)

Uber Banker (655221) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871284)

Your utter complete incomprehension of the meaning of sarcasm notwithstanding, valid point, but, what is the point?

SO they can associate things? Is this not different to a unique key? Because they are associated with a physical object... typing in my password is a physical process converting a physical object/action into binary the computer understands. In what way is scanning an image which converts it to a binary stream different, other than more likely to have error?

Sounds like fancy sci-fi wrapping from a journalist who has missed the opportunity to think and perhaps present something more insightful.

Re:The bane of the photocopier... (2, Insightful)

grishnav (522003) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871482)

"[W]hat is the point?"

Just trying to spark some thought into interesting alternate usses of the technology.

How long before somebody hacks it to use a camera as the input source? You could do all sorts of interesting things with a camera able to recognise objects. You could, say, periodically rotate a camera around your room to capture the various objects in it, and make a profile for insurance records if you house is ever broken into.

Now that scanners are available rather cheaply, you could easily hack a small scanner to fit in a mountable, waterproof box, and create a nifty keyless entry system for your house, using fingerprint, handprint, faceprint, armprint, footprint, or virtually anything else you can imagine. (You would, of course, keep a real key for backup purposes.)

"Sounds like fancy sci-fi wrapping from a journalist[...]"

I think was intended to be an insult, but - being as I'm not a journalist - I'll take the comparison as a compliment.

"[...]who has missed the opportunity to think and perhaps present something more insightful."

If my intent is to spark thought, need I do either?

Re:The bane of the photocopier... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5871524)

Indeed... and could the burgular hack the key entry system too.. I'd only use the technology if it was PROVEN.

A Yale and Mortice combination is pretty good. Not perect, but flaws are hard to get around. Not, if I were to replace my Yale and Mortice for a cheap scanner and lookup program, I'd want to make sure tis softweare was PROVEN from the assembly upwards. Would you use a security system based on WinCE [embedded devices?]???

And why is fingerprint technology necessary? I've used electronic cards at work for years. I don't want someone cutting off my finger or removing my eyeball to rob my home.

Re:The bane of the photocopier... (4, Funny)

quantaman (517394) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871329)

Just make sure it isn't somethnig you'll have to call up in the middle of a presentation, could take a lot of explaining...

Re:The bane of the photocopier... (1)

levik (52444) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871494)

"I'm sorry sir... I couldn't find that document... You see, I have this condition..."

Re:The bane of the photocopier... (1)

bulbul (1999) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871537)

If only my Xerox AssJet 790 doubled as a scanner. :(

Re:The bane of the photocopier... (1)

mandolin (7248) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871613)

Funny or no, most mementos can be lost or destroyed.. whereas most people can find their own asses (some of them do need a map.)

Asspass Re:The bane of the photocopier... (1)

mrmeval (662166) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871777)

So you whip out your handy asspass and flash it at the camera, and it don't know you, your ass has sagged in the 20 years since your first flashed it and sag recognition was not implemented.

Anything physical that wasn't designed for LONG term stability is going to cause stupid frustrating problems. Hell even a mag strip card is near worthless for more than a few months.

I do know of an old, moldy, lower than low but still electronic tech locking system that the access device will last for decades can be immersed in salt water, partially erroded, bent and still access the device and unlock it. If the material were not laminated plastic but metal it would last much longer.

It's an optically read plastic card about three to four times as thick as a credit card with these little square holes punched in it. Amazing that it works with Radio Shack quality parts from ages ago. It was built for some untended fleet fueling company and they really don't DO much to the pumps electronically to keep them running either.

I don't need a scanner or such I can grind my encryption key onto a STONE of suitable durability and put it face down in my yard. Done correctly it will still be legible in 20 - 30 years.

Ah, modern tech! (5, Funny)

orangesquid (79734) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871156)

Turning the paperless office into a huge junk bin!

"Mike, do you have the financial data for 2002?"

"Somewhere. Help me look for the squeaky red clown nose."

For my documents, I will use a printed sheet... (5, Funny)

Blaede (266638) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871575)

...of the file as my memento. To make the association more secure, each page will have it's own memento, consisting of the page printed out. That way when I need to retrieve the file on the computer to print out, all I have to do is scan each page, open the file, and print.

This technology has promise.

Mmm... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5871161)

...Mentos. The Freshmaker.

Re:Mmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5871418)

freshmaker.exe command not found

This is the last thing we need! (1)

Myself (57572) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871162)

Remember Dumbo and the magic feather? I can see it now, my mother will call up to say she can't access her files because she lost the shortcut object, because she's afraid to navigate the filesystem.

neither value nor novelty here (0, Flamebait)

sstory (538486) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871167)

Some tech is just useless.

car key? (1)

intermodal (534361) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871168)

but if you used a car key, it'd suck if you forgot when you get a new one...

I am thinking (3, Funny)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871169)

Was the Marketing Plan associated with one of these seashells or one of these pebbles? Or maybe it was my coffee cup?

Patents... (3, Funny)

silentbozo (542534) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871170)

If they try to patent this idea, I'm citing Johnny Mnemonic [imdb.com] as prior art!!!

Re:Patents... (4, Funny)

quantaman (517394) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871298)

If they try to patent this idea, I'm citing Johnny Mnemonic as prior art!!!

Hmmm, not sure if I'd call that art.

Johnny Mnemonic (1)

FiloEleven (602040) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871769)

Movie was terrible. Check out the Gibson short story though - much better. It's in the collection "Burning Chrome."

Isn't that a good reason NOT to do this! (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871680)

But hey, the Navy's already working on the trained dolphins over in Iraq!

Re:Patents... (0)

mnemonic_ (164550) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871688)

Indeed, sir.

What happened to using a simple icon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5871171)

Seem like reinventing the wheel here.

Keys (4, Funny)

cybermace5 (446439) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871182)

Guess you could have actual keys for database access. Then you can put all the keys on a keyring...

This is more stupid than anything else I've heard this week.

This is just too easy (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5871194)

Please put penis on scanner to locate pr0n

Re:This is just too easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5871342)

your MOM is just too easy. *ZING!*

Mementos...the Fr-Freshmaker (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5871196)

: )

well (5, Funny)

kingofnopants (600490) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871204)

If ten years ago someone told me that in the year 2003 i would be using a seashell to retrieve data i would tell that person that he is fscking stupid.

Re:well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5871269)

Funny how times never change, huh.

Re:well (1)

sukotto (122876) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871340)

Hahaha

He doesn't know how to use the three shells... [imdb.com]

Sooooo.... (1)

Rumbler (598245) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871209)

If my company adopted this system, what image would I use for my *ahem* corporate porn stash?

Since they're already using shellfish... eh?

My thoughts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5871211)

Ok, there's only one thought. This is dumb.
You wanna scratch your scanner everytime?
Who's to prevent anyone from scanning the item once and just using that image to unlock your stuff?
Why not just PRINT OUT the data and delete the digital file?
What's more secure than a printout in a damn safe?
Sheez. And for this universities are popping up like weeds to make MORE engineers?
Hand me that wrench, I'm becoming a plumber!

My question is why? (5, Insightful)

MyNameIsFred (543994) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871213)

To me this sounds like many of the other poorly concieved ideas for indexing files. Much like meta-data fields that require me to fill out extra fields that can be searched later. The vast majority of people don't fill the fields in. And where required, they typically use bogus data.

This situation seems much the same. Most of the files I save on a computer are NOT associated with some object I have lying around the house. For example, everytime I write a letter to Mom, I'm suppose to scan her picture? Why not just save it in a folder called, "Letters to Mom." Its easier, quicker, and I don't have to find Mom's picture. Similarly at work, most of my files are associated with some email telling me to do work on some project. Do I scan the email? Seems kind of pointless.

In my view, like metadata, this suggestion adds steps that the vast majority of users won't do.

Re:My question is why? (1)

evil_roy (241455) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871360)

The point is you can associated meta data without having to fill out any fields. This is a good combination of digital objects/physical objects. For home users it may make filing/retrieving these objects much easier, but the killer could well be in the business world where paperless office migration is hindered by indexing rules and incomplete meta-data, yet the same people who fail to grasp these issues can manage with traditional files and systems. Merging the two this way will help with the transition.

Cross referencing could be achieved easily, with complex filing rules enforced. People will undertand this - when you scan or save a file you use the relevant objects - a physical key ring would do. As ludicrous as this all sounds ( of course the physical object is redundant) it is the sort of thing that is required to make existing systems work in large organisations.

Re:My question is why? (1)

scratchbuild (651760) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871463)

I'd imagine that the mementos are supposed to be tokens from events of significance, not a key for your file system. You'd use the seashell as a token from your honeymoon in Hawaii or something.
Seeing that people already keep mementos of key events at home, a scanner like this sitting in a living room can enhance those memories by allowing your "media hub" PC to immediately recall pictures, sounds, or videos of that event.

----
I haven't thought of a witty sig yet.

This where I come in... (1)

mrpuffypants (444598) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871215)

....with my obligatory pr0n reference:

I'd like to use that system to organize and search my pr0n collection!

Doh.. (3, Funny)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871223)

... Uh dear.. well.. uh I need you to sit on the scanner... Please, don't ask.

Re:Doh.. (2, Funny)

stevejsmith (614145) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871388)

Must've gotten her drunk when you entered the password.

Re:Doh.. (0, Offtopic)

websensei (84861) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871626)

offtopic:
per your sig, the dump story is hilrious.
also your 3d artwork is impressive, nice website.
have a nice day
chris

Huh? (1)

mrseigen (518390) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871224)

If you already have to keep the keys around in the physical world, then what's the point of not carrying around the actual paper documents themselves, or a CD-R or DVD? Sure, it's sort of impressive tech, but it's a poor idea overall.

THE FRESH MAKA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5871233)

Will it retrieve my documents in a queer 1980s europop sort of way?

THE FRESH MAKA!

I know what I would use... (1)

confused philosopher (666299) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871238)

I know what I would use...to store my porn.

Scan a breast, and associate it with porn.

The trick is finding the woman when I want to make the retrival. Not to mention the encryption.

Re:I know what I would use... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5871417)

You get a woman to scan her bare breast .. so you can retrieve porn. There's something wrong with that picture.

It's time.. (-1, Offtopic)

cowboy_ein (646822) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871243)

..to play ask me if I care!

meat space stegonography, next step crypto? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5871265)

This is actually a good stegonography tool.

However, Wouldnt it be cool if the object could deterministically return the same key, to be used as a cryptographic key?
Then, you could use objects as the keys to encrypt and hide your information.

Don't suppose that is very realistic though :)

The other way around? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5871278)

I have no problem finding computer files. What I need is something that, for example, I can find the file associated with my soldering iron, and it'll tell me where in my house the damn thing is... RFID tags maybe?

Coming Up Next (2, Funny)

MimsyBoro (613203) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871279)

Next your not going to scan a picture of the object but actually drag the object to a special platform. "Mom where's my M16, I want to play American Army

3 Sea Shells (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5871295)

But what if you're new in the office and don't know how to use the 3 Sea Shells?

Johnny Mneumonic (4, Insightful)

rice_burners_suck (243660) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871299)

This is just like Johnny Mneumonic. Every day, with the bullshit being pulled by the RIAA, MPAA, Microsoft and other predatory multinational multibillion dollar organizations seeking nothing more than eternal perpetually increasing profits, the world gets closer to the reality portrayed in that movie. That was the subject of Johnny Mneumonic; in that case, it was a pharmaceuticals company that let people stay sick even though they had a cure because it meant more profits for them.

But that's NOT why I associate this with Johnny Mneumonic. I associate it because in the beginning of the movie, they're going to store 80 gigs of information (about as much as I have in /usr/home/) in Just Johnny's head. They use three random images from the television to associate with and encrypt the information. These images are then faxed to the recipient. Obviously the bits aren't being used because they would change in faxing. A more associative method is used, kind of like a human memory. I think that with time, more technologies like this will be used as our computational needs advance; That is, unless these multibillion dollar corporations have their way and our computers become merely vessels for receiving garbage information (valuable intellectual property) like the stupid movies and music being made nowadays, while "real" computers will be labeled as "professional equipment" and will cost five hundred times as much as they should so that only the corporations can afford them to keep us under control.

In the world of the future, it will be corporations, not governments, that will oppress the people. The governments will only serve as a tool to those corporations. Capitalism is fine; I just think that one change needs to be made: The individuals should have a much louder "voice" in government issues than corporations. In fact, the "voice" of any party should be inversely proportional to its size and power. The RIAA should not have enough voice to mail a letter to a senator, let alone do the evils that they are doing.

Re:Johnny Mneumonic (2, Insightful)

tarzan353 (246515) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871409)

In the world of the future, it will be corporations, not governments, that will oppress the people. The governments will only serve as a tool to those corporations.

In the future?

Re:Johnny Mneumonic (1)

madmarcel (610409) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871518)

Whoa dude! Calm down!

I think you should cut down on your daily intake
of cyberpunk novels...geez, talk about doom and gloom :o I suspect an acute overdose of Gibson triggered that outburst...

<obligatory silly scifi reference>
Oh...and go get changed man...those spiffy spandex pants are just not on man ;)

(I'll leave it to other people to comment on your...ehm...interesting line of reasoning :^)

What about small corporations? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5871593)

You know, your Mom and Pop operations? Should they be muted, because in essence, their views gives the owner double the "voice" you talk about; the owner's vote and the corporation's vote. Or are they evil as well?

Johnny Mneumonic: True in the Movie, not the story (2, Informative)

Nova Express (100383) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871711)

"I associate it because in the beginning of the movie, they're going to store 80 gigs of information (about as much as I have in /usr/home/) in Just Johnny's head. They use three random images from the television to associate with and encrypt the information. These images are then faxed to the recipient. Obviously the bits aren't being used because they would change in faxing."


While this is true of the movie, this is not true of the original William Gibson story of the same name it was based on. There the mnemonic trigger was "Christian White and his Aryan Reggea Band."

>In the world of the future, it will be corporations, not governments, that will oppress the people.

Yeah, well, when you find a corporation which has killed 100 million people the way communism has, be sure to let us know...

Re:Johnny Mneumonic: True in the Movie, not the st (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5871860)

that bloody communism, always killing people... now fascism, that never killed anyone! we should embrace our new fascist masters, and quickly, before communism sees a revival!

Dear Leonard (5, Funny)

Letter (634816) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871303)

Dear Leonard,

Use the Memento pattern when

  • a snapshot of an object's state must be saved so that it can be restored to that state later.
  • a direct interface to obtaining the state would expose implementation details and break the object's encapsulation.

Sincerely,
Letter

old idea (4, Insightful)

g4dget (579145) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871304)

Using images of physical tokens to access documents is a really old idea. Of course, that won't stop BT from filing a patent.

fear the office party (1)

zenst (558964) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871306)

I can see comebody mistaking one of these scanners for the office photocopier come festive time and the office party period and instead of ending up with a momento of the occasion they will probably end up with a screen full of goatse url's. --these are not weapons of mass destruction, there mearly encryption keys to my sons trust funds--

Mementos? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5871307)

I have this condition, I don't know if I've told you about it... ...I have, haven't I?

Strange Imagery (1)

ScumSucker (537438) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871311)

I first read the headline as: Mentos as Document Retrieval Keys which quickly brought to mind an image of people trying to stick them into various ports on thier PCs. This could create and a whole new industry dedicated to cleaning floppy drives.

News Flash - Lotus notes security (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5871319)

This is how Lotus notes has implemented security for the past couple of years.

Strange Imagery (2, Funny)

ScumSucker (537438) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871330)

I first read the headline as:

Mentos as Document Retrieval Keys

which quickly brought to mind an image of people trying to stick them into various ports on thier PCs. This could create and a whole new industry dedicated to cleaning floppy drives.

Demolition Man... (3, Insightful)

da3dAlus (20553) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871358)

"I went to retrieve the files, but in their place were these damn 3 seashells..."

"Hahahah...he doesn't know what the 3 seashells are for!"

Let's see now (5, Funny)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871372)

When I lose an important memento, I don't have to worry because I kept all the serial number and insurance info in a file which... DAMN!

My Brain Already Does This (4, Interesting)

weston (16146) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871389)

It's really pretty neat. I can pickup old ticket stubs and remember things about concerts that I'd forgotten for years. An old T-shirt can bring back a memory of going shopping at Target with my sister while an old girlfriend was out of town. I've got a tie another old girlfriend gave me that brings back visiting her in the hospital. I could go on, but the really cool thing, is that I've figured out how to retrieve some of this information using abstract representations of things -- drawings or pictures -- or even sometimes simply writing some words about them. I don't have to keep the mementos around any more.

I'm thinking of maybe implementing a computer system for this, where I type in some small "key" representation, and get back some further "data" associated with it....

Kind of wish I could clean out and delete a few things from the brain system, tho'...

hope you have a stable relationship (0)

tarzan353 (246515) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871391)

What happens when your psycho girlfriend breaks your memento?

Just what is a Type 2 security error again? (4, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871397)

This is a sure fire recipe for data loss of critical data. All the server backups you can make would become worthless if the seashell/encryption key falls into the hands of a three year old with crayon or is lost/ruined in any other way.

It's a nice novelty for encrypting your digital little black book, but it's not going to be useful at all for business databases.

I'd use... (2, Insightful)

1nv4d3r (642775) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871400)

a piece of paper with the filename written on it.

Because, really, a box full of small objects is harder to associate with unrelated files than the filename is.

If you can say to yourself, "lessee, did I use the blue pill or the red pill for 2003 Actuals?", you would get a lot further naming the file "2003 Actuals" and looking for that. Wouldn't you?

Bleh, (2, Insightful)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871403)

This might be somewhat cool if you could use a simple digital camera, and you didn't need to worry about angle (this would require an all-angles storage, of course)

Either way, it seems pretty useless for most people. As long as we can tell what an object is we could simply type it's name in and search that way. It could be useful for large museums and scientists, thought.

Said in gangster accent (1)

ChicagoFan (125489) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871405)

"Ya see tos men? Tos men use mentos as mementos!"

Sorry, I don't toss mens' salads... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5871491)

...but I would toss yours!
*Rowwwr*

Great... (2, Funny)

Rorschach1 (174480) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871420)

So now I can lose all of my electronic files along with the physical ones in the piles of junk on my desk...

Humane technology (3, Insightful)

asreal (177335) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871444)

This is one of those inventions that makes technology easier a bit more fun and a lot more personal. It doesn't make sense for every day use - you wouldn't want to use it to store office documents or your taxes - but imagine the sentimental possibilities. Associating a ring that belonged to your mother with pictures of her and a slideshow, or the seashell in question with video and music from your romantic beach vacation.

So before you go off saying how complicated and pointless a system like this would be, remember that it won't just be geeks using it. But of course, it could make a very interesting password system in the right hands...

I'd use my ass and nuts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5871468)

Ala goatse [goatse.cx]
No one I know can stretch their anus as big as mine!

Re:I'd use my ass and nuts (1)

Qender (318699) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871535)

That's one way of protecting a document.

"Ok, you can read my files, here's the image to unlock them"

"Oh dear god! NO!!!!!!!!"

This has got to be the worst idea for 2003 (1)

christrs (187044) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871480)

Unless the scanner can correct for the misplacement of the image (skew and position). I dont see how it can generate the same key for two different passes of the same image. Most likely the document will not be retriveable reliably with this method.

Chris

BT? (1)

Mephie (582671) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871483)

BT huh? Wow, great techno music and he develops new technologies! Go BT!

Uh... (1)

miketang16 (585602) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871485)

I may just be a little slow, but the purpose of this is...?

Re:Uh... (2, Funny)

Meowing (241289) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871515)

If you stick a crystal on the scanner, a hologram of Marlon Brando will appear and tell you the secrets of the universe.

Yet another useless tech product (1)

ThomasFlip (669988) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871511)

If this product is designed to help people remember what they have on their hard drive, what happens when they loose the physical 'key' which is used to access it ? These same people are probably 2 times as likely to forget their physical key then forget about their data. This, in my opinion, renders the product as useless eye candy.

amazing! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5871538)

This is a fascinating idea.

Maybe someday, a picture of the item could actually just be placed on the screen, without having to scan a real object. And when you want to get your file, you just point your finger at the picture.

This "iconic representation" could even be moved around the computer screen like you'd organize something on your desktop.

I know, you're laughing.. how can my Wang 80-column green screen actually someday show a PHOTOGRAPHIC QUALITY PICTURE?

Well don't laugh. Someday soon, we'll be able to see pictures on our computer screens, at 100x100 dot resolutions or even higher! Some advanced models may even show different shades of green for each pixel.

I hope that bright young man Steve Wozniak comes up with something! As soon as he stops hanging around that troublemaker Steve Jobs, all he wants to do is eat fruit and masturbate to Picasso paintings.

Slashdot is the best timesharing system EVER!

Why I won't use this (1)

raider_red (156642) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871560)

Where'd I put the damn seashell!? I need it to unlock the project I've been working on for the last year!

a great idea with a not so great implemtation (2, Insightful)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871578)

Using a tangible reference that can't easily be guessed/produced by a non-authorized party is a great idea in data security.

However, it seems flawed since you have to:
a) determine a method to reference the objects to their locked data if you use multiple objects as associations.

b) determine a method to securely store that object

c) Raise the question of the uniqueness of that object.

So for this to work, you'd have to create a secured storage location and a means to remember each items association.
And then each time you created a new object of association, you'd have to ask "Is this object unique or could someone easiliy go and obtain a comparable object to use in it's place?"

So while it's a novel idea and most worthy of continued R&D, it is not yet a practical solution as it only adds a layer of security that raises it's own potential security risks.

I could see an offshoot of this solution using imaging software to create complex patterns at the time of encryption that would be apparant noise to the human eye, but be read easily by a machine. These images could be small and stored on a memory stick. This method would be difficult to reproduce as the image itself would be based off the encrypted bits + the encryption key and stored on an external device. But unless they developed a biometric access mechanism(thumbprint scanning etc) on the access point or memory stick itself, there would still be the problems in secure storage/handling of the key.

But regardless, it is good to see new approaches to an age old problem.

Mentos as Document Retrieval Keys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5871587)

I first read this as 'Mentos as Document Retrieval Keys'. Now that would be a story...

Watermarking is better. (1)

twitter (104583) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871588)

Hazards of using a scan of an object as a key include loss of the object or the scanner. A different scanner with different resolutions and color sensitivity would ruin your day. If you just happened to keep the original scan, you would be better off. Using many objects and hiding their images with many others would reduce the chances of others discovering your keys. You would then need a data base to associate the images with files. For smaller files you would do better to simply watermark your image with the encrypted data and do away with the "secret" files which are obvious targets. "Secrets? What secrets? All we have are employee family photo albums."

I think it's a good idea (3, Insightful)

TwinBeam (638330) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871644)

Those of you being snide need to think again.

To you it sounds pointless and silly and wastefully kludgy. The same sort of snide remarks were made about graphical displays and color monitors and mice. Such attitudes overlooked that people LIKED working with computers that had those features.

The proposal is not a data retrieval system - it's a memory retrieval system. And it isn't oriented to bringing up that memo you wrote last week - it's to bring back your images of your wedding or vacation of 20 years ago. And just a data point - my wife think's it's a cool idea. So maybe this is one of those things that women will understand and want more than men. (You know - women - those odd creatures that press flowers, save invitations from weddings, make shadow boxes, save children's teeth, etc? A digital memory box may very well be a highly desirable consumer product.)

already seen it... (1)

thbbpt (657293) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871662)

simon greenwold at mit's aesthetics and computation group has been working on this for a while now. (EyeBox [mit.edu] )

Mentos as Document Retrieval Keys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5871745)

Damn, for a moment I thought the heading was:

Mentos as Document Retrieval Keys

Now that would be cool.... I mean fresh.

Demolition Man... (0, Redundant)

WaKall (461142) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871814)

"He doesn't know how to use the seashells!

Association with physical objects may be useful... (1)

cubal (601223) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871815)

if, for instance you work in a museum -- how useful would it be to be able to put an object on the scanner, and the computer automatically retrieves the information or data for it, without you needing to know what the object is or what it's called.

It's gonna be pretty useless for security or encryption, but in some fields it would be brilliant.

If everything had a memory (0)

ezy (60500) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871826)

An interesting twist to this idea is *pre* associating data with an object. Imagine a central db for scanned objects that people/corporations could register physical objects with.

You place a bottle of coke in front of the scanner, and presto coke.com pops up. Or less annoying, imagine putting an object in front of the scanner and instantly being redirected to the manufacturers support page for that item. Printed copied of magazines or newspapers might jump to the online version of the article you're presenting, perhaps with additional info or audio/video extras.

Even more interesting... you have some wierd part to something you can't identify or can't figure out how to work. Place that part in front of the scanner to instantly jump to a web page of info on that part... maybe fully identifying it. "1/4 inch snubblewart"

How is this any different than.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5871838)

...a scanner that can be used to retrieve digital documents by associating them with a physical object. When the digital files are stored on the server, they are associated with a scanned image of the object,

This should really say, "...a scanner that can be used to retrieve digital documents by associating them with a digital blob, that could be another scanned image, Word document, or random bits."

Now, if someone had a scanner that could do some image recognition the way people can, and automatically create some sort of keyword list w/o human intervention, that would definitely be cool. But I would bet that such a scanner would have to have a preloaded database of images to try and recognize.

And then what do you really want it to associate with the images? Object physical attributes? (i.e., red car approx 3/4 frontal view, shot in a grassy field with trees in the background), or more personal details (my '65 Alfa Romero "John" at Whatcom Falls Park, 5/8/2003)?

How is this any different than ECM systems like Documentum, or the Microsoft Office "Fast Find" feature that attempts to index all your Office documents?

I thought of this 4 years ago (2, Interesting)

Rares Marian (83629) | more than 11 years ago | (#5871844)

1. Just crumple up a piece of paper.
2. Trace the creases in pen.
3. Scan the piece of paper.
4. The image is the key to the document.

Weak impl of 'Something I have' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5871846)

Methods of authentication:

Something I know
->Something I have
Something I am

As something I have, this method is really rather poor. Ideally, the 'something' should be difficult to duplicate. Here, a photograph of the thing (taken from the right angle) might be able to fool the scanner. Or just look at the HotWheels car your target is using and find an identical one. Interesting idea, but I can't see it being secure.
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