SingLock Protects Your Valuables From Shy People


Two Cornell students have designed their own multi-factor authentication system. This system uses a PIN combined with a form of voice recognition to authenticate a user. Their system is not as simple as speaking a passphrase, though. Instead, you have to sing the correct tones into the lock.

The system runs on an ATMEL MEGA1284P. The chip is not sophisticated enough to be able to easily identify actual human speech. The team decided to focus their effort on detecting pitch instead. The result is a lock that requires you to sing the perfect sequence of pitches. We would be worried about an attacker eavesdropping and attempting to sing the key themselves, but the team has a few mechanisms in place to protect against this attack. First, the system also requires a valid PIN.  An attacker can’t deduce your PIN simply by listening from around the corner. Second, the system also maintains the user’s specific voice signature.

The project page delves much more deeply into the mathematical theory behind how the system works. It’s worth a read if you are a math or audio geek. Check out the video below for a demonstration.

14 thoughts on “SingLock Protects Your Valuables From Shy People

  1. At the same price of a Mega1284, one could get ARM M4 with DSP instructions which can do better voice signature… The eval board for those are in the $10 range.

    When you are stuck with not enough horse power to do the job, don’t get pigeon holed into 8-bit thinking.

    1. I believe that Dr Land required the use of the 1284p.
      Next year it will be the cheap 32 bit DIP PIC uC that they will be using(PIC32MX250F128B-50)…a much more powerful chip and at a 50mhz clock. I think they are about 3.00USD at Mouser in lot 100.
      The PIC is a good uC but I would have moved instead to an ARM on a small adapter board because
      it’s a good idea to move right to ARM since most embedded work involves ARM nowadays.

  2. So, are we supposed to say that’s nice?. Clean off the keypad and all we need is a voice activated mic to record the tones.

    “Your Valuables from Shy People”, A deaf person could rev-eng this. Ugh.

    “Port Knocking” on different edges and angles of the lock box BEFORE entering the pin combo is 1000x then what I just watched.

    1. For gods’ sake, it’s a student project. Nobody’s actually going to lock anything important behind it. It’s probably not going to end up as a lock at all. It’s a nice idea, even if there are a million sensible reasons why you wouldn’t use it for actual security.

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