Menu
Your typing style could better protect your accounts

Your typing style could better protect your accounts

An intelligent keyboard can both charge itself and record unique typing patterns, which could be used for biometric authentication

Georgia Tech Professor Zhong Lin Wang and graduate research assistant Jun Chen created a self-powered keyboard that can also be used for biometric authentication based on a person's typing style.

Georgia Tech Professor Zhong Lin Wang and graduate research assistant Jun Chen created a self-powered keyboard that can also be used for biometric authentication based on a person's typing style.

A new type of keyboard could make it irrelevant if your password is divulged, providing a much higher level of computer security.

Researchers with the Georgia Institute of Technology embarked on a project to create a keyboard that is powered by individual keystrokes, generating enough juice for a wireless connection.

They accomplished that, building an "intelligent" keyboard that captures a small charge produced when a person's finger touches a plastic material with a coating of an electrode material. That charge could be stored in a lithium ion battery, or used to send a wireless signal.

But during their work, they thought up another application that may have a far wider impact.

They had 104 volunteers type the word "touch" into their intelligent keyboard, which uses simple software to capture information on how hard a key was pressed and the time interval in which the keys were pressed.

It turns out those measurements are quite particular to an individual. Using signal analysis techniques, they identified unique typing patterns among people with a low error rate, a kind of biometric authentication.

Zhong Li Wang, a Regents professor in the School of Materials Science and Engineering at Georgia Tech, said in a phone interview from Beijing on Friday that the patterns become "a very unique personal measurement."

The intelligent keyboard was inexpensive to develop and uses off-the-shelf materials, Wang said. The keys aren't mechanical and are instead made up of vertically-stacked transparent film materials. Keystrokes produce a periodic electrical field.

His team is still working on making the keyboard more reliable, but he thinks it could be commercialized in as little as two years.

What if a person breaks a finger and the typing pace changes? Wang said that scenario could affect whether a person is able to access a system, and there might have to be a secondary authentication mechanism.

But the beauty of using the intelligent keyboard for passwords is that it would matter much less if cybercriminals had someone's login credentials, as they wouldn't be able to replicate the typing style.

The research was funded as part of a six-year grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to study nano power generation.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Georgia Institute of Technology

Featured

Slideshows

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

Partners are actively building out security practices and services to match, yet remain challenged by a lack of guidance in the market. This exclusive Reseller News Roundtable - in association with Sophos - assessed the making of an MSSP, outlining the blueprint for growth and how partners can differentiate in New Zealand.

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ
Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

The leading players of the New Zealand channel came together to celebrate a year of achievement at the inaugural Reseller News Platinum Club lunch in Auckland. Following the Reseller News Innovation Awards, Platinum Club provides a platform to showcase the top performing partners and start-ups of the past 12 months, with more than ​​50 organisations in the spotlight.​​​

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018
Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

HP has honoured its leading partners in New Zealand during 2018, following 12 months of growth through the local channel. Unveiled during the fourth running of the ceremony in Auckland, the awards recognise and celebrate excellence, growth, consistency and engagement of standout Kiwi partners.

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ
Show Comments