Keyboard Keepalive

We’re not going to debate the necessity of this one. [Todd] plays online games that will log you out after a few minutes of inactivity. To resolve this, he has created a circuit that mimics keyboard activity at a preset interval. While he notes that there is software for this, he points out that many games block the software. They can’t block legitimate keyboard activity.

[via HacketGadgets]


  1. osgeld says:

    great, more bot zombies sucking up bandwidth, as everyone else around them yo-yo’s in place

  2. Agent420 says:

    Discrete components? No arduino?

    j/k… while this may be a rather simple project, it’s good to see some people still remember how to use transistors and RC timing. Folks don’t seem to have the analog knowledge anymore.

  3. nave.notnilc says:

    cute and useful, implemented with appropriate components. :)

  4. firetech says:

    How about a homer simpson drinking bird.. to do the job…

    I like the project! Now, if you can just make it go random times between 5 – 30 seconds that would be better. Some games have a system in place to watch for every N second activity and report it back to the administrators.

  5. Nero says:

    If the game detects you are pressing a key precisely every 20 seconds, won’t they suspect you are using an illegal app anyway???

  6. Joe Knight says:

    It almost beats the brick on the keyboard hack.

    Good Job

  7. Blinky says:

    Why not just use a dippy bird? If it’s good enough for Homer J Simpson it’s good enough for anybody ;)
    Smart hack though :)

  8. ehrichweiss says:

    Anyone besides myself find it disturbing that a *game* uses the same “trick” that malware uses to get your password? What could possibly go wrong?

  9. How about changing the power settings?

  10. Alastair says:

    @Heliostat hippy


  11. abbott says:

    Heh, lets make this even more interesting and add in a decade counter with reset… that way its always varying the key press frequency, in the fact that it takes a little longer each time then goes back to [5s]. little more circuitry, but beats the ‘exact press frequency’ counters.

  12. Lukke says:

    I guess 5 rows of code wouldnt be called a hack and displayed here so… nice job!

  13. minxo says:

    protectors like punk buster use native API and signatures along with PE modification. This could be detected with clock skews, but they likely wont implement it, and just let vendors do pattern recognition in ranking and general activity.

  14. Paul Potter says:

    Yes, but what if the game reads the cursor keys? I see a very obvious problem here.

  15. taylor says:

    @Heliostat hippy
    You obviously didn’t read the article.
    His computer is not going to sleep, the game is logging him out on the server due to inactivity, on purpose, and he can’t change that.

    Although I suspect saying this here is useless, you really need to read before you comment.

  16. ejonesss says:

    sending keys via software can be detected especially if the game site has code to monitor the active processes running.

    remember the site blizzard can detect the glider and ban you.

    the advantage of the circuit is it is completely undetectable via software unless a time monitor is done

  17. ral says:

    One lo-tech method that has worked for me is to place the optical mouse on top of a cheap analog watch that has a sweeping second hand. As the hand sweeps around, it will cause enough mouse jitter to keep the session alive.

  18. Paul Potter says:

    @ral Genius!

  19. MS3FGX says:

    That is actually pretty brilliant.

  20. Shadyman says:

    You could also take an old, partially broken USB mouse and mount it in a small project box on a watch, add a power switch, and voila!

  21. PSN Cards says:

    @Ral, nice idea seems pretty simple.

  22. supershwa says:

    While funny, let’s remember the “dipping bird” method doesn’t work on a keyboard — those lil birds need a glass of water in front of them to work properly. ;P

    Cool hack – certainly plenty of use for those who step outside for a smoke break every now and then.

  23. tr0nk says:

    would’ve killed for one of these when farming honor in WoW. nice

    double nice with the candy tin, i think i’ve seen those around at the dollar store

    would rather see a drinky bird though :]

  24. spiderwebby says:

    we made somthing similar to this at work when IT decided that the computers should lock after 10 minutes. we used a pic and serialkeys. they worked brilliantly. also good fun to tweak a bit when one of the co-workers went on holiday :D

  25. Whatnot says:

    Lol I like your idea, it has an interesting complexity while at the same time being simple.

  26. Rachel says:

    I’m surprised no one suggested the capslocker. The caps lock can be changed to any key, or even randomized with a bit of extra code.

  27. Frogz says:

    although i have no idea where i’d start, for years i’ve wanted to make a “virtual keyboard” 2 usb plugs, 1 talks to software to get it’s macros, the other plugs in as a standard usb device
    if the capability was only required of 1 pc(ie, not using a laptop to type into a desktop or somthing)
    just have the input and output on the same usb device, a little dongle that will in realtime take input from software and output keyboard :D
    and yes, its for games that block sendkeys style input

  28. Frogz says:

    yanno what…
    anyone wanna buy me a arduino? it’d be caek to make a arduino talk to ps2 or maybe even usb

    besides keyboard macros, mouse emulation would also be amazingly useful

    as it’d basically be taking input and directly outputting it so macro length is near infinite
    a little program that can record from a real keyboard/mouse as well as being able to import/export other macro software formats

    should the keyboard timing be could handled in real time with the pc controlling it or program in delays based off of the microcontroller’s internal clock
    could probably make a nice kludge with a microcontroller and a keyboard, the only headache is mapping the pins from the key matrix to the keyboard chip

  29. Andy says:

    If you went through all the trouble to wire it into the keyboard, why not lose the batteries use the 5v your keyboard gets from the USB?

  30. AnthonyDi says:

    Why not just tape down the arrow key when you go afk.

    @firetech – the bird was the first thing that came to mind when I saw this hack..

  31. Make Hates Freedom says:

    All the more need for the USB finger poker

  32. 0x808080 says:

    @ral mind = blown

  33. googfan says:

    thats one of those mini tins you wer talkking about.

  34. Digital says:

    just get yourself a finglonger and you could press the keys on the keyboard from far away. Problem solved.

  35. nubie says:

    You can make a USB one with an Atmega, it has been on here many times as a pranking device to caps lock at random intervals (although CTRL key does funny things to your mouse clicks)

    Chuck Norris doesn’t need this hack, he is always in control.

  36. action_owl says:

    What is the advantage of being logged out?

  37. CapnBridgeman says:
  38. yuppicide says:

    Can’t Todd just wake the f–k up and don’t sit in a game 24 hours a day even though he’s not home?

    I hate those people who take up spots and then sometimes you can’t get into World of Warcraft.. or how about those people who join a war game, create a room, then leave for vacation to Disneyland while a room full of people are screaming start already?

  39. jaded says:

    It’s a good little hack. But if you’re a gamer and have a gaming keyboard (Logitech G15, etc.) you already have programmable keyboard macros that you can use to do keepalive stuff. And because it’s driven by the keyboard, it doesn’t get blocked either.

  40. googfan says:

    nobody reads these comments

  41. Mio says:

    Wouldn’t it make more sense to use a little 8 pin attiny and emulate a keyboard? You’d like like, two discrete components for it, and could probably hide the whole damned thing in something the size of a quarter.

  42. cantrip says:

    My version of this back when playing star wars galaxies at launch: Take my wacom pen, tie a string to it so it dangles just over the tablet, and tie feathers to the string to my PC case fan makes the pen move around a little. Good for “mouse detection” vs “click detection.” Also quite effective at keeping people away from my desk.

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