From old-fashioned passwords to more modern biometric alternatives like Touch ID, there are plenty of ways we can protect our identities online. Here’s one you might not have considered before: a smart keyboard which identifies users based on the individual ways they type.
Developed by U.S. and Chinese researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Beijing Institute of Nanoenergy and Nanosystems, and other institutions, the smart keyboard analyzes patterns, such as the pressure applied to keys, and the speed at which key presses are carried out, to distinguish between different users. Even if you happen to know another person’s password, you could be locked out for an inability to emulate their typing style.
“In this work, the typing-induced electric signals can not only differentiate keystroke timing but also quantitatively record concrete dynamic changes in the course of typing using the self-generated electric current and voltage signals,” reads a paper, entitled “Personalized Keystroke Dynamics for Self-Powered Human–Machine Interfacing,” first published in the journal ACS Nano. “It offers an unprecedentedly accurate, unique, and permanent typing pattern for further verification and recognition purposes.”
Arguably better than the security aspects of the keyboard are its other benefits. For one thing, it harnesses the energy generated from typing to power itself or other small devices. For another, it is coated with a dirt-repellent coating, which means the keyboard cleans itself by repelling dirt and other grime.
The bad news is that, for now at least, it’s still in prototype form—but should research continue to progress nicely, there’s every chance we could eventually see this up for sale.
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