How would you feel if your electronic device, say your personal computer, could be accessed, without your permission, when you were gone? This is not a pleasant thought, I am sure.
Electronics offer opportunities we otherwise could not experience, but, unfortunately, put our personal information into a format which can prove to be self-destructive. In this case, electronics provide an open door to our most personal information.
All you need to use, in order to keep your online activities private, is a password, right? Wrong! It has never been riskier to rely on a password – it just cannot offer the level of security that is really needed.
Most passwords are easy to guess, especially if you are close friends, relatives or associates of the individual who wishes to retain privacy. So, what do we do?
A solution for privacy
There is a new way to keep your information private and secure within your electronic equipment.
Zhong Lin Wang, regent professor at the school of Materials Science and Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, says, “An intelligent keyboard can change information output, it can use electronic signals when keys are pressed on the keyboard. These signals can then be analyzed to detect differences”.
Although this may seem complicated, it is actually a basic concept.
You see, every time you press a key on the keyboard, the stroke is recorded. This happens with all conventional keyboards, so nothing outstanding there. The intelligent keyboard records each key that is pressed. It then monitors the pressure used when the finger presses the key and the time it takes to move from one key to the next.
What most people are unaware of is that keystrokes are different from person to person. This biometric provides security and keeps keyboards tuned with each person. With this system, there cannot be any unauthorized use of the device.
How is this possible?
The magic word is contact electrification. The keyboard’s internal components generate a current when the fingertip touches a plastic surface, such as the keys on a keyboard. This plastic surface is coated with electrode material and voltage is generated through infusion effects – triboelectric and electrostatic.
Whenever you have materials that come into contact and then pull apart, you understand the triboelectric effect. Electrostatic pertains to the electricity in our fingertips which can charge objects that we touch.
Between the mechanics and the plastic keys, there are transparent film layers. A layer of polyethylene terephthalate between two layers of indium tin oxide forms the top and bottom electrodes.
The electrification layer is formed from fluorinated ethylene propylene. This is where the triboelectric charges are generated. Basically, the keyboard works by way of connection between electrostatic induction and contact electrification.
In order to fully understand the keyboard’s capabilities, a test was conducted with 104 subjects. Each individual was asked to type the word “touch” four times. Of course, the electric patterns were recorded, and test subjects were differentiated with a low error rate. There was little doubt that many different subjects were using the same keyboard. The system really works!
Safe and Secure
The intelligent keyboard can provide a way to keep criminals from accessing company information as well as personal information from home. Large companies have been victims of this for a long time
Not only does the intelligent keyboard provide a way to keep information secure, it is also basically waterproof. When coffee or other liquids come in contact with the keyboard, nothing happens because the device is based on plastics. The keyboard can also serve as a charging device and operate without batteries.
Although this product has not yet been released to the public, it has great promise. No need for passwords to keep your information safe, you will have the opportunity to use your fingers alone for that. You will be able to input information and remain confident knowing that your personal details are for your eyes only.
Image credit: Rob Felt
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