Colette Biometric Security Purse Screams When Stolen

A team of college hackers was disappointed with the selection of secure purses available. Nearly every purse on the market is attractive, secure, or neither so they are designing their own security purse with some style. Instead of just brass or leather clasps keeping unwanted hands out, they are upgrading to automation and steel.

Everything starts with a fingerprint reader connected to an Arduino. Once an acceptable finger is recognized, a motor opens a coffin lock, also known as a butt-joint fastener, which can be completely hidden inside the purse and provides a lot of holding force. That is enough to keep quick fingers from reaching into an unattended purse.

In the case of a mugging, a sound grenade will trigger which should convince most thieves to quickly abandon it. Then, the internal GPS tells the owner where the purse can be found.

We can’t imagine a real-life purse thief prepared to tackle this kind of hardware. Hackaday loves knowing the ins and out of security from purses to cars and of course IoT.

18 thoughts on “Colette Biometric Security Purse Screams When Stolen

      1. My wife had a security purse (I think she bought it from TravelSmith a decade ago) I can’t vouch for “attractiveness”, but the shoulder strap had a stainless steel cable (cables?) sewn inside to discourage “cut and run” snatchers, and the main compartment was secured by 2 zippers one above the other running in opposite directions. The material on outside was a “tough” fabric (kevlar and stainess steel threads?). The shoulder straps were well clasped to the body.
        It may have had a RF shield compartment inside or maybe the entire purse was shielded. And when in unknown areas, she’d wear the strap over her head and carry it more to her front.
        It survived a couple of washings in the machine quite well. But, as with all purses, she eventually replaced it.

  1. a secure purse? ehmmm how is that possible. How about a real safe with a handle, now that would be secure and because of the handle it is some sort of portable.

    Regarding this project, I wonder how you open it if the batteries are dead? But seriously now, I think this project was a lot of fun. Silly in some way, lot’s of problems to solve and if when finished not noticeable at first sight, so this might throw some surprised faces when it comes in action. Must have been lot’s of fun to demonstrate. Nice project.

    1. The dead battery problem can be alleviated by having a couple of battery terminals on the outside, they could be decorative rivets/studs placed to allow a 9 volt battery to supply power to the Arduinsky. (RF beads and protection diodes/fuses can be between the contacts and the actual board.

    1. It also doesn’t address the issues of fight or flight.

      Yeah most thieves who snatch purses are going to be your average cut and run coward. However every blue moon you are going to run into someone who instead of running, is going to stop and get violent when that alarm goes off.

      So while it might resolve the situation favorably is a good number of instances I kind of worry that it also has the potential to escalate certain fringe cases.

      1. How about worrying about real things instead? Yes your scenario may prove right if the attacker is mentally ill but then why worry for that extremely unlikely case instead of worrying of the more likely case of being attacked by a violent maniac?

  2. If you *really* had faith in your biometrics and electronics you would make one with a solenoid released bear trap. This would still involve screaming, but perhaps from the more appropriate party.

    1. How about small directed anti-personnel explosives? With the intention of scaring and non-fatally wounding the thief while limiting dangers to others. Would be hard to make as safe as required.

      Sketched on a smartphone anti-theft device some years ago which was to consist of an Iphone housing with integrated voltage multiplier and GPS. Just have it on the table when having a coffee with someone in a place known to be frequented by thieves. Of course it shouldn’t be watched to enable someone to snatch it.

      After the device have moved x meters it would be become activated pulsing enough high voltage current to ensure a painful (but not dangerous*) experience for the thief. The GPS ensures one can track where the device is to retrieve it in order to repeat the game.

      But it would of course be illegal so it stopped as a feasibility study.
      (* unless the thief placed the device against his/her chest and had a pacemaker implant)

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