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Hardware Hacking Security Toys Build

Multicolored Keyless Entry System 126

Posted by timothy
from the simon-says-open-up dept.
mollyhackit writes "Here's a how-to guide for building a keyless entry that uses color identification instead of numbers. All eight buttons are initially blue; as you press the individual buttons they change color. Cycle the colors to your particular pattern, and you're in. This lock obviously wasn't designed for high security use since anyone in the same room would be able to see you and your amazing technicolor dream lock's pattern; it's just a fun project and will keep the youngins out of your workshop (timer prevents brute forcing). The RGB buttons are monome clones from hobby shop Sparkfun."
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Multicolored Keyless Entry System

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  • Useful tool (Score:5, Funny)

    by VincenzoRomano (881055) on Friday June 13, 2008 @03:21AM (#23775215) Homepage Journal
    to make jokes to your color-blind friend: replace his front door lock!
    • by dk.r*nger (460754) on Friday June 13, 2008 @06:02AM (#23775811)
      I would be equally "fun" to replace non-color-blind peoples front door locks.
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by chazd1 (805324)
      This sort of so-called cleverness really gets me going. As said quite a percentage of Anglo males are color blind. Products from Asia have historically used these clever color codes on equipment because they are oblivious to color blindness. As a color blind person I get quite indignant when someone wants to use miulticolor LEDs and so on because it is elegant. Those things are impossible to use for me. This concept falls into the category of "So Simple no one can understand it!" Grrr.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 13, 2008 @09:15AM (#23777035)
        I'm fully colorblind, that's right, black and white. Color coding a lock is no big deal, just get the master key. I think a ten pound sledge would do.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        Then don't buy those products. It's unreasonable to expect 90% of us to avoid using a technology because the remaining 10% can't. (Or, put another way, if I make something for myself, don't get worked up if you're different enough from me that it doesn't work for you as well.)
        • by WK2 (1072560)
          It's not like manufacturers advertise the "Must have full range of color vision" for their products. That's one of the reasons I buy stuff at places with a good return policy.

          Disclaimer: I am not color-blind, but I have bought worthless crap that had to be returned.
      • I agree, how could they be so oblivious to color blind people? In fact, how could they be oblivious to BLIND people by making those lockers with combinations not written in braille and selling those? How could they be oblivious to AMPUTEES who can't use their hands to even move the locks? This can go on forever.

        Just because someone isn't catering to every single minority, doesn't mean they do it on purpose to make you mad. Sometimes you can't account for every minority (like proven above), and sometimes i
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by DarthStrydre (685032)
        Agreed. I am nearly red-green colorblind. For most things the color is obvious, red firetruck, brown grass, and I can tell that apart.

        For red/green bicolor LEDs... I have the hardest time figuring which is which. I often have to resort to comparing the angle of light coming out of the LED, since it differs slightly depending on which color is active.

        The problem is that typical bicolor LEDs have 'red' as 625nm, and Green at 565nm for a difference of 80nm. (Perhaps this is to reduce manufacturing cost?)

        Tricol
        • by Rayban (13436) *

          Agreed. I am nearly red-green colorblind. For most things the color is obvious, red firetruck, brown grass, and I can tell that apart.
          I hate to break it to you, but grass is green. ;)

  • by SlashTon (871960) on Friday June 13, 2008 @03:31AM (#23775263)
    It's a fun project and a cool toy, but I hope it would never see serious application.

    Considering that between 7% and 10% of men are red-green color blind (other types of color blindness at a few percentage points). This kind of lock could pose serious problems for a significant part of the population.

    "What? You set the password to the garage door to Red Green Green Red? Guess I'm walking to work again..."

    Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colorblindness [wikipedia.org]

    • by RuBLed (995686)
      Easy solution: match each color change with an audio alert.

      Harder solution: Finger electrocution based on the binary equivalent of the color.
      • It might be rather a giveaway to anyone in a 20 foot radius unless you cover the thing with a duvet when pushing the buttons!
        • It might be rather a giveaway to anyone in a 20 foot radius unless you cover the thing with a duvet when pushing the buttons!

          Get smart, dude. It's called The Cone of Silence!
      • by severoon (536737)

        Easier solution...don't use both green and red, just choose one. (Same goes for yellow and blue, the other kind of color blindness.) Or, go ahead and use both, but put a black dot in the center of red and blue.

        Besides, this isn't really a problem after all. They can make colors look red and green to us normal people but still make them easily distinguishable, though not by hue, to color blind people. That's why there aren't more accidents at intersections controlled by (red and green) stoplights, even th

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Petersson (636253)
        Easy solution: match each color change with an audio alert.

        Any suggestions for my colourblind + tonedeaf friends?
        • by SQLGuru (980662)
          Don't make it tones but sounds....I can just hear the See and Say voice now.

          The button goes...MOOOO
          The button goes...BAAAA

          Even still, I'm pretty tone def and I can at least tell escalating pitch even if I can't match it vocally. As long as the colors and the pitches correspond, they should be ok.

          Layne
    • by shird (566377)
      I've often wondered about peoples claim to colour blindness and their inability to distinguish red/green etc. While I'm sure they both look brown to them or whatever, surely the red and green would look like a different shade of brown? ie, red + green = dark brown + light brown, and they would still be able to open the lock. ?
      • by NMerriam (15122) <NMerriam@artboy.org> on Friday June 13, 2008 @04:24AM (#23775493) Homepage
        Only if the value is different can a color-blind person tell that the colors are different. If you tell them that the red is darker than the green, they can then tell you which one is darker than the other if they're next to each other, but if all they have is blue, brown, and yellow to choose from, they have no idea if that brown is the red or the green.
        • by Rufty (37223)
          I'm colorblind. At a guess I'd say that means that 90% of my ability to tell red from green (or brown, or grey, or pink...) is missing. Put two colors next to each other and I can usually get it. Telling if that indicator LED is red or green? Unlikely.
      • by cp.tar (871488) <cp.tar.bz2@gmail.com> on Friday June 13, 2008 @04:57AM (#23775595) Journal

        I'm colorblind.

        Red-green, but not too badly. I get along just fine, but fuck those test patterns. There was some kind of a jumbo poster ad with that pattern, and the only time I was able to read it was at night, from a sufficient distance.

        Certain shades of red, green, purple, brown and grey simply blend into each other. When I see something colored like that, I can't even name the color.
        Kind of like someone tone-deaf guessing whether he heard a C or an E note. He can hear whether it was high or low, just like I see whether it is light or dark, but other than that, I simply cannot name it.

        For instance, most of this /. page is green. Though it may be light brown.
        The frame around the text field I'm typing my answer in is a different shade of green, but it might also be grey.
        I'm leaning towards green, but I don't really see it.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by BugZRevengE (622917)
          it.slashdot.org has brown as its colour, not green :-) So it is not the colour blind, but rather, poor design that makes the it section look crappy brown.
        • by JPeMu (942971) on Friday June 13, 2008 @05:34AM (#23775717) Homepage
          I'm red-green colour blind.

          Many of the PopCap games (and similar) I have played where colour is significant have overlays shown (as an option) which aid me just fine, and I'm sure a similar thing would work here, even though that's assuming that the original would be unusable by someone colour blind.

          The one thing that really used to irritate me was Teletext (before it faded into obsolescence) - Being unable to tell the difference between Green and Yellow, and Cyan and White made for trying times, especially when some insensitive clod chose green and yellow as two of the "fastext" colours. Oh, and chose blue for the cyan option (which looks white to me!).

          I have no problem wiring a plug; only occasional problems wiring more complex items (whereby I am forced to use direct lighting to make the colour distinctions); and no problem with traffic lights. Only where I must choose between two shades that differ by red hue alone (or near enough) do I have problems. I know that red-green colour blindness is not the only kind, but it often feels like colour blindness is not considered when designing new products/websites etc. and I find that disappointing for lack of such a simple consideration.
          • by Drogo007 (923906) on Friday June 13, 2008 @10:21AM (#23777781)
            Me and my brother both used to work for the same game studio, and he's also Red-Green colorblind.

            Anytime the devs came up with color as a way of differentiating things, we'd drag my bother to the screen and have him test the interface. It was sad, almost to the point of being funny, just how long it took them to make a usable color scheme somtimes
            • by Dog-Cow (21281)
              Dark Age of Camelot uses color to distinguish the relative difficulty of mobs. Since release, they have also included +'s and -'s to give the same information (3 levels of difficulty in either direction relative to the player), purely to aid the color-blind.
            • When doing some research for my Human-Computer Interface course, I came across a very useful tool for just this purpose:

              Colour Contrast Analyser [juicystudio.com]

              It includes some tools that help make sure your fore and background colors are sufficiently contrasty, even on a monochrome or black and white screen, or to a colorblind viewer

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      You could still use it if you are not color blind - and if you carefully select the colors your lock will be 7% less vulnerable to shoulder surfing.

      It's not a bug, it's a feature.
    • by jlebrech (810586)
      No you are wrong, it would be bad for color blind burglars. Color blind homeowner would have to also be stupid to install one of those.
    • by Chapter80 (926879) on Friday June 13, 2008 @05:55AM (#23775787)

      This kind of lock could pose serious problems for a significant part of the population.
      Isn't that the idea of a lock? To make it difficult for OTHER PEOPLE to gain access?

      Another note: The way this is currently designed, as was mentioned in TFA, others could see and memorize your secret pattern. But I think it'd be trivial to change it so that as you push a button, ALL of the colors potentially change. And the "combination" might be something like:
      If Red and Green are paired together (one on top of the other), press the button to the right of the Red one. Otherwise, press the lower Right button. If you can do that 6 times in a row, you're in.

      Such a pattern would be VERY difficult for someone to learn through observation. And with random displays, the combination (which keys to press) would virtually change every time. And you'd be locking out the color-blind burglars (and blind burglars too).

      Unfortunately, though, that's the same combination as my luggage.

      • by Chapter80 (926879)

        Unfortunately, though, that's the same combination as my luggage.

        Interesting? Informative? Shoot, I was going for Funny!

        Apparently so were these other people: Spaceballs, [wikiquote.org] Diebold Voting Machines, [metafilter.com] The Virginia Lottery, [powerblogs.com] and Cold War Generals, [damninteresting.com]

      • by STrinity (723872)

        Isn't that the idea of a lock? To make it difficult for OTHER PEOPLE to gain access?
        But if a di- or polychromat is one of the people who needs access, it's a problem.
        • Then why are these people installing the locks in the first place? That seems kind of silly to me.
          • by STrinity (723872)
            Do you have control over what type of lock you have to use at work? If the PHB decides to install one of these color-code locks and you're colorblind, it's a problem.
      • About a year ago I designed a lock that uses an electric door strike like the one in the article, an AMX 8-button keypad [amx.com] and control system [amx.com]. I wrote a program that uses a custom random number generator to create a unique code based on the date and time period of the day. (e.g 1600-1800 hours) I then wrote a java app to place on my cell phone that, once a password is entered, will display the sequence needed to unlock the door. So, the only way to break it would be to have my phone and my password (or of
      • by smoker2 (750216)
        Lose the colours.
        If a normal atm moved the numbers on the keys each time, then it would have the same effect. Most of them are touch screen anyway now.
      • Unfortunately, though, that's the same combination as my luggage.

        Personally I'm going to use: yellow blue red blue purple purple blue purple green yellow.

        Serious geek points to whomever gets that reference.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Lachlan Hunt (1021263)
      Someone I know who is Red-Green colourblind once told me he could tell the difference between red and green lights because they lights have different intensities, or something like that. How do you think colour blind people deal with traffic lights?
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by kennykb (547805)
        Traffic engineers choose the colours carefully so that people with the common forms of colour blindness (including deuteranopes, like me) can distinuguish them. Incandescent traffic-light green (and aviation green) looks blue to me, but it doesn't look either red or yellow, so I don't get them confused. With LED traffic lights, the traffic engineers have found a green light that does look green to me.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by kennykb (547805)
          And (committing the sin of following up to myself), the designers of Epson projectors did not use similar care. For some years, the only status indication on the thing has been a single LED, which can be steady red Power off), flashing red (Powering down), steady green (Power on), flashing green (Powering up), or steady yellow (Lamp burnt out). I cannot for the life of me tell the colors apart, and I'm always doing things like powering down a projector that's just kicked into "power save" when I want to h
      • by tehcyder (746570)

        How do you think colour blind people deal with traffic lights?
        Well, in the UK at least it's always Red at the top, then Amber in the middle and Green at the bottom.

        So STOP is top-light, GO is bottom-light and anything else you can safely ignore...

      • Well the easiest way to tell is because they're always in the same order. I've yet to meet someone who gets up and down the wrong way round :P

        There's also the "stop no matter what, and go if the person behind me uses their horn" method. I've heard that that works quite well.
      • by STrinity (723872)

        How do you think colour blind people deal with traffic lights?
        Traffic signals encode their messages by color and position -- even if you can't tell the colors apart, you can see whether it's the top or bottom light.
    • by Starayo (989319)

      Considering that between 7% and 10% of men are red-green color blind (other types of color blindness at a few percentage points). This kind of lock could pose serious problems for a significant part of the population.


      WHAT! Approximately one in ten men can't tell I'm dressed up in Christmas garb?

      THIS IS A TRAVESTY!
    • If you were color blind, you could make this easy for you (and similar color blind people) to open, but hard for "normals". The colors of the buttons are completely configurable, because they are generated by a tri-color LED. So all you have to do is choose a palette of colors that appear the same to you, and use them for the decoy keys. You would also choose a color that you can distinguish for the hot key. That way, us "normals" would see a bunch of random colored buttons, but you would see a bunch of
    • by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Friday June 13, 2008 @08:50AM (#23776715)
      Why the hell would someone or someone living with someone that was blind install one of these? No one is forcing you to use them. It's like saying "10% of the population is in wheel chairs. I hope stairs never see any sort of wide spread use".

      Some people may be better with colors than numbers. Give them the option of making this their remote less garage door opener: "green green blue blue red purple green" garage door opens.
    • by Thanus (615133)
      I have a few forms of color blindness; through the years, I've been able to see shapes, outlines, and distinctions in colors that people without my color blindness have extreme difficulty seeing, or can't see at all. It's my understanding that color blindness varies from person to person, so why not either make a variety of color locks tailored just to the color blindness of the user? This could be done in a similar manner as the circular tests often used to diagnose color blindness. I understand this so
    • by Ucklak (755284)
      Reminds me of Land of the Lost [blogger.com] and the pylon control panel that controlled the weather.
    • by Bobartig (61456)
      This is dumb. My friend recently installed a kwikset contact-biometric lock, which does a pressure-scan of your finger surface. It's keyless, relatively fast, and "secure enough" (as secure as a deadbolt generally is. I'm a hobbyist locksmith, so my perceptions of security are somewhat skewed). And, it can't be circumvented with the packing-tape on highball glass a la Alias biometric hack.
    • You know, as a colorblind person, I don't feel like this is too discriminatory. In fact, it might be an advantage since I see colors all jacked up anyways. My red deficiency could actually create an additional wild card to the combination--as long as I'm picking the color code myself (the ones I think I see). I run into trouble using someone else's key that I cannot see.

      Sometimes I like to think of my "disability" as just another layer of abstraction :D
  • I think any kid over four could figure it out by watching a couple of times...
    • by kiberovca (524346)
      Actually, I remember my cousins when they were around 3 years old, they always beat the crap out of me in any kind of memory game. So saying that this lock would prevent kids to entering only shows that some people really don't understand (or have no contact whatsoever with) the kids. Or what they (the kids) are capable of.

    • Re:Dads workshop (Score:4, Insightful)

      by jrumney (197329) on Friday June 13, 2008 @04:20AM (#23775475) Homepage
      I think you underestimate the capabilities of 3, 2 and even 1 year olds. My youngest is 20 months old, and any "child-proof" device to keep him out of things is useless already. My kids can get things apart that I didn't even know came apart, and when I ask them, they show me how they did it, so its not just random brute force they're using.
      • by SQLGuru (980662)
        Smaller fingers fit between the snap together plastic cases a lot better than our pudgy little digits........

        Layne
      • Tot Lok (Score:4, Informative)

        by Slashdot Parent (995749) on Friday June 13, 2008 @11:17AM (#23778801)
        My kids were never able to defeat Tot Lok [amazon.com].

        They are a pain in the rear to install, but once installed properly, your kid is not going to get that cabinet or drawer open before you figure out what's going on.

        That's the whole idea, really--to slow them down. Just make sure you put the key someplace that the kid can't get to without constructing some serious access ramp.

        You want the parental, "Just what do you think your doing?" to refer to constructing a ramp rather than you kid spraying her little brother with Raid because "he was bugging her".
  • Actually useful (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 13, 2008 @03:44AM (#23775323)
    One reason it's useful - if you have a door lock with a code, you wear the numbers away on the keys that form the code, significantly reducing security. For instance, I have a bank card widget (standard in some parts of Europe) which I need to authenticate with my bank by means of challenge-response; it eventually becomes obvious what your card PIN is because those numbers wear more, and the object itself becomes a security risk. This way, your software can ensure even use of buttons.

    Blind people and the colourblind need not apply, however...
    • by RuBLed (995686) on Friday June 13, 2008 @04:01AM (#23775397)
      That is why I always insist that my PIN uses all the available numbers in the numeric keypad.
      • by Stooshie (993666)
        You have a 10 digit pin number?!?!?
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by BrotherBeal (1100283)
          Or a binary keypad.
          • by Stooshie (993666)

            ... or a binary keypad ...

            Hope it's not 128-bit encryption then? ;-) You'd have to memorize a 32-digit hex number and convert to binary on the fly.

            Would you still have only 3 chances to get it right? Would the queues go on for ages while they waited for people to get their code right?

            Hey, maybe that's a new CAPTCHA to make sure you are a techy?

        • by SQLGuru (980662)
          I used to have a 10 digit pin (this was in 1995/1996 with Wells Fargo). It was fine for the ATM, but this was also about the same time I started seeing self-swipe payment devices at registers. Most of them could only handle the 4 digit variety. I actually picked my grocery store based on which one would take my 10 digit pin (I paid cash or check everywhere else).

          Since, I've stuck to the less secure 4 digit variety because it's convenient.

          Layne
    • by SlashTon (871960)

      it eventually becomes obvious what your card PIN is because those numbers wear more, and the object itself becomes a security risk. This way, your software can ensure even use of buttons.

      Interesting point, I had never considered that. But there are much simpler ways of resolving that than going to a color locking scheme? Touch screen widget which cycles the placement of the numbers on the screen for example?

      Although that would create other issues of course, many people (myself included) seem to remember PINs more by the 'gestures' (movement of my finger) than the number. I find I have to think real hard to come up with the PIN, but when I imagine typing it on a pad, it comes easy.

      Hmm... I

    • by Stooshie (993666)

      ... Blind people and the colourblind need not apply, however ...

      Presumably, for any colour combination, each key is hit a certain number of times meaning that colour blind people would remember the number of times each button is pressed.

      In fact, wouldn't that get over the problem of people being able to see the colour combo. just don't display the combo, but memorize the number of presses on each button.

      • Considering the colours are moving around, how is remembering the number of times pressed going to help if they can't distinguish between certain colours?
        • by Stooshie (993666)

          ... Considering the colours are moving around ...

          No they're not, according to the article:

          ... flashing blue buttons while it's idle ...

          and

          ... On key presses, the keys will change colors ...

          presumably in some fixed order.

          This means that all you have to do is memorise the number of keypresses. In a more secure mode the lights wouldn't even have to be on.

          • The colours move around when you press a button, I didn't say that they are constantly moving, that would be pretty awkward if you press it just as it's going to change. If the colours were going to move in a fixed order, why are people here saying that this is a good method to spread wear across all the keys rather than just a few keys getting worn down. If it's going to be a fixed order, why change the colours at all?
            • by Stooshie (993666)

              OK, if it's a random order the colours change in then you are correct. My apologies.

              If not then all your colour are belong to me!!! :-P

              :-)

      • In fact, wouldn't that get over the problem of people being able to see the colour combo. just don't display the combo, but memorize the number of presses on each button.

        I think you missed out on one of the details of this device. The colors of the buttons change -- randomly, at that -- every time you press a button. In this way, the button-pressing pattern is dynamic. When I push a blue button the first time, even though I know I have to push red next, I don't necessarily know where red is going to be.

    • by twistah (194990)
      I don't know if these are made anymore (they may have given way to today's prox cards), but the problem you describe can also be addressed by a "scramble pad." They look like keypads but each button is actually a little LED screen. When you press a button combo, it displays numbers 0-9 in a random order. The numbers can only be seen when looking straight at the key pad. This method is useful not only against the wear you describe, but is also a good deterrent to "shoulder surfing" as well.
  • Cycle the colors to your particular pattern, and you're in.

    And then of course you'll need one of these [wikipedia.org] to generate a really hairy, secure pattern for yourself.
  • Be careful with this, especially if you live in Boston.
  • by LM741N (258038) on Friday June 13, 2008 @04:55AM (#23775587)
    but after using the sledge hammer, each time I would have to buy a new door. Got expensive. I'd recommend a key
  • (the original series, that is)

    Would make kind of a fun retro-future thing.
  • by SeaFox (739806)

    This lock obviously wasn't designed for high security use since anyone in the same room would be able to see you and your amazing technicolor dream lock's pattern;

    Thank God! Now my dog wont be able to get in.

    Why do I feel like this summary was written just for the "amazing technicolor dream lock" pun.
    • by WK2 (1072560)

      This lock obviously wasn't designed for high security use since anyone in the same room would be able to see you and your amazing technicolor dream lock's pattern

      That's OK. Regular locks aren't designed for high security either.

  • Task based locks (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sprintkayak (582245) on Friday June 13, 2008 @05:39AM (#23775727)

    I've always liked the idea of a task based lock.

    Not necessarily more secure, though.

    A few ideas:

    • Play a tune on piano keys (sound off for more security).
    • Non trivial math: how many people can integrate sec^3? How many B&E type criminals can?
    Any other ideas?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by RuBLed (995686)
      Replace your welcome home mat with a Dance Dance Revolution pad...

      Burglar could get in after perfecting PARANOiA Survivor MAX...
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      Non trivial math: how many people can integrate sec^3? How many B&E type criminals can?
      I can't, but my crowbar got me through math class before and can do it again.
      • by Belial6 (794905)
        You joke, but I have seen many houses with bars on the windows, and big sliding glass doors on the back of the house where no one would see a universal key (rock) being used to open the door.

        When this is pointed out to people, they start planning how they could secure the glass door. They tend to stop when you point out that a cheap battery operated circular saw will take you right through the wall.

        Basically, there is no secure home security system. They are all trivial to bypass. The key is to jus
    • Play a tune on piano keys (sound off for more security).

      Hell, combine music and color. Hook this bad boy up to a wireless Guitar Hero controller. Want in the house? Blast off a chorus from Jordan on Expert [youtube.com]. (Be prepared to sleep on the lawn).

  • In the lucasarts game DIG, the ancient aliens use locks with colored geometric shapes.
  • Take a well-working technique: numeric keypads. Replace it with an unfamiliar interface, where the baddies can see from further away, especially in the dark, what the solution is. Fail to account for one of the most common disabilities (colour blindness) and you have an utterly pointless application of technology for it's own sake.

    Finally, what do you do when one of the lights fail?

    Avoid.

    • So you're saying I shouldn't build model rockets because I can't carry a payload into orbit with one?

      If I use the instructions on a hobby site to add a cool-looking LED board to my bedroom door, I'm not going to be fretting over whether a color-blind man can use it, nor over the security flaws. (Unless the color blind man is myself or my roommate works for the CIA.) Also, if the LED fails, you can unlock the door the old-fashioned way. That's sort of why those electronic strikeplates exist.
  • Now the life-art circle is complete. LEGO Star Wars has a light based lock as one of it's puzzles, too. Took my color blind brother a while to get into Jabba's skiff, but hey, it was a fun level.
  • This reminds me of numerous puzzles in the Legend of Zelda series of games. What next? Targets obscured by spinning disks that you have to hit with arrows three times?

    Actually that'd be great for nerd kudos
  • A normal keypad will set high 2 lines in a known configuration that a programmer could check. A quick skim on sparkfun yielded no schematic that would tell me how to program this thing. I wonder how you know what color is currently activated?
  • What would be interesting would be a numeric keypad that displayed the numbers on random buttons after every keypress, thus making it even more difficult for someone to gain unauthorized access by lifting fingerprints or using heat sensing technology.
  • If I read this right, you have to hit a button multiple times to change the color (yuk, this is why I finally replaced my old cell with a blackberry to talk to a txt-addicted g/f). What is the implication of this, if any? Ie, your combo would be something like: 3322241116777
  • Why do we not see many wireless locks such as a bluetooth lock? Why can't I pair my device with my door and send a code to open it? Thats what I'd like to see.
    • Why can't you? The board in the article that controls the lock uses USB to connect to a PC. You can also get an adapter to interface your bluetooth device with you PC. Then, all you you need is a simple interface program that makes the two talk. Maybe not as simple as I'm describing, but possible.
  • This is an interesting project, if not a little nerdy. Topics like this seem to pop up once in a while here and it's starting to become more interesting each time I see one.

    I did a little bit of basic (very basic) circuit design in school, but I've since forgotten everything and no longer have any books or notes. It would be fun to play around with stuff like this, but since I know virtually nothing about circuitry I'm really not sure where to start or how committed I'd have to be to tinker with project
    • The article references the Sparkfun site as the location where he got the hardware. Sparkfun is a company started by 2 guys when they were still in college and it's a pretty good site for digital electronics beginners. Take a look at it sometime.

      I'm not affiliated, but I did just buy a Bluetooth interface from them so I could turn a serial-based computer interface I sell to a few people into a wireless-enabled one.

      Anyway, if you want to learn more about beginning electronics or have questions, come on over

Mathemeticians stand on each other's shoulders while computer scientists stand on each other's toes. -- Richard Hamming

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