True cybersecurity: Intelligent computer keyboard identifies users by pattern of …

25 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Scientists Make Energy-Generating Keyboard That Knows Who’s Typing On It.

Protective computer passwords have some competition. Researchers with the Georgia Institute of Technology embarked on a project to create a keyboard that is powered by individual keystrokes, generating enough juice for a wireless connection.In doing so, said keyboard can assess exactly how it is that you type: the force you apply to the keys, the delay you place in between different letters, the size of your fingers, and more. They accomplished that, building an “intelligent” keyboard that captures a small charge produced when a person’s finger touches a plastic material with a coating of an electrode material. The idea is that the keyboard will serve as a powerful new way to verify that a particular person is typing. “The computer keyboard is one of the most common, reliable, accessible, and effective tools used for human–machine interfacing and information exchange.

And while biometric alternatives, such as fingerprint readers, are finding their way onto more consumer electronics devices, they are not without their limitations either. The “human-machine interfacing” device reported in the American Chemical Society’s academic journal “Nano,” could provide a foolproof way to prevent unauthorized users from gaining direct access to computers. Enabled by a system of “contact electrification,” the keyboard senses typing patterns, the level of pressure applied to keys and speed – and it is accurate enough to distinguish one individual user from another. They had 104 volunteers type the word “touch” into their intelligent keyboard, which uses simple software to capture information on how hard a key was pressed and the time interval in which the keys were pressed. 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.

An additional feature will also please the eco-minded: the keyboard harnesses energy generated from all that typing to either power itself or another small device. “Conventional security measures such as personal identification numbers, tokens, or passwords can provide only limited protection, since they themselves are subject to illegitimate activities,” the research team wrote. “Based on contact electrification, which is ubiquitous but underexplored, between human fingers and keys, the intelligent keyboard (IKB) converts typing motions on the keyboard into locally electric signals that can be harnessed for either touch-sensing or energy-harvesting purposes. As well as sensing touch and typing style, the non-mechanical keyboard is able to generate energy to power itself, and self cleans, thanks to a dirt repellent coating and crafty composition — thin layers of plastic, topped and tailed with conductive film — so there’s no mechanical gullies to harvest the crumbs of your lunch. Most significantly, the IKB allows a direct identification of personality in data input using the dynamic electronic signals generated when striking keys,” the article stated.

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. If you’re up to at least 20 words per minute, you’ll presumably be able to give connected devices a little boost—though details are scant. “Last but not least [the intelligent keyboard] is also an effective self-cleaner, which keeps itself free of dirt and grime. This capability will provide administrators with great convenience for identifying impostors or intruders, and it will have extensive applications in keyboard-based information security. So it is evidently a more energy-efficient alternative to tracking typing via capacitive data that could be harvested from typing on a touchscreen keyboard.

Enough to charge “small electronics at arbitrary typing speed greater than 100 characters per min”, according to the team — which they characterize as “a giant leap compared to previous reports”.

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