Microsoft engineers reinvent the Optimus keyboard

Looks like Microsoft has come up with a pretty slick little keyboard. It’s very much like the Optimus, which has an OLED screen in every key, except that it doesn’t have a screen in every key. Instead there’s just one screen on the whole unit and they keys have been overlayed on top while allowing the image to show through. Brilliant really, since this should drastically reduce the $2400 price tag of the original. That is, if you could buy the device. Microsoft’s not selling this hardware (yet anyway), but offering it up as test hardware for the UIST Innovation Contest. It will be interesting to see what the students come up with. This keyboard should be easier to program for since it involves manipulating just one screen. There is also extra space at the top that is touch-sensitive. See for yourself after the break.

[Read more...]

Safelock: biometric typing security

We’ve seen some ways to bypass biometric security measures but here’s a new offering that we think will be hard to fool. The Safelock system is used in conjunction with a password to identify a specific user. This software records your typing style including the time between keystrokes, the time keys are held, and key pressure data. This information is then normalized and compared to the information stored about the user when the password was originally set. If you don’t fall within specifications that match the stored data, you won’t get in even with the right password.

The icing on the cake is that Safelock will look for malicious users. If you enter the wrong password, it will begin to record and analyze your typing style. If you make enough incorrect attempts you will be labeled as a security threat and locked out of the system altogether. We can only think of one reliable way to circumvent this and that’s using a man-in-the-middle method of recording the keyboard inputs of the legitimate user for playback later.

This is an innovative user identification system and we’re not the only ones that think so. [Jeff Allen] and [John Howard], students at SMU won first prize for the Student Innovation Contest at the 2009 User Interface Software and Technology Symposium.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 96,408 other followers