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computerized lock

Scan, compute, and authorize.
  (+15, -3)(+15, -3)
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A lock that looks like a normal lock from the outside and opens with a key. But rather than being opened by one specific key, it just scans in an image of the (mechanical) key and passes it on to a computer; the computer then signals whether or not to open the door.

Applications: Locks that can be opened with one of the keys you already have, without forcing you to drag new keys around; locks can be opened with any number of different keys; locks that not just open, but also identify the person going in.

This works for cards, too.

jutta, Oct 28 1997

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       I've seen hotel room safes that use this concept with credit cards (one locks the safe with a swipe of any mag-stripe card, which can later be used as the key to unlock it).
mab, Aug 30 1999
  

       We have something similar where we work: keys with IR emitters that are read by sensors in the locks. Each key has a unique IR pattern. The lock checks with the central computer to see if the owner of the key is allowed through that particular door before opening. Each unlocking is recorded in the system.
juke, Mar 04 2000
  

       try any college campus. we all have cards that all entry to buildings, and as soon as you move to a new dorm, or join a group, etc., your card access profile is updated.
urbanmatador, Mar 24 2000
  

       This system allready exists. LIPS has a system with keys that contain a coded chip. All door locks can be programmed from a PC to allow certain keys to be used on each. Every use is also centrally logged.
pfranken, Jul 17 2000
  

       I meant a key as you would already find in your pocket. A (likely) mechanical one. Your house-key, say.
jutta, Jul 17 2000
  

       The inverse of this is a computerized key that scans the inside of the lock (or maybe just another key) and then moves some bits of metal around to create the appropriate shape.   

       Yeah, we should all just use smart cards / proximity badges / biometrics for everything. But I like the feeling of a little hunk o' metal...
egnor, Jul 17 2000
  

       The way you describe it jutta, it doesn't sound terribly secure to me. I like the LIPS system pfranken describes. If everyone had a chip implanted key with a unique code, then various locks could be programmed to allow that keyholder access to .....whatever. Houses, cars, offices etc. Then if a key is lost or stolen a central database of codes could be alerted so that the key can be deactivated, or the thief/finder traced due to its use. Eliminates having bundles of keys for all sorts of things. Geez, in one job I even had to carry a key to the key storage box with me.
Alcin, Sep 04 2000
  

       Yeah, but good luck changing all the locks in the world to fit your scheme. (And the "central database of codes" will give many the willies.) Jutta's idea can be (theoretically) implemented today.
egnor, Sep 04 2000
  

       What happens to an electric lock when the power goes out? Should it stay locked or unlocked? Should you hide a battery under a fake rock in the garden?
magneto, Sep 10 2000
  

       Some of this technology already exists. There is something called an "i-button". The i-button is about the size of one of those small batteries that look like a small button. The manufacturer's of the button have put it into watches, key chains, jewlry, and just about anything else that is small and you carry with you all the time. Each i-button has some kind of specific code which somehow reacts with a transmitter in your house, which you can set to react differently. From unlocking your door whenever you get close, to activating lights whenever you come close. I believe that they have gps trackers in them also, but i may be wrong.   

       But power consumption must be an issue because the i-buttons are so small. So my guess is that the i-button is the reciever and then transmitter is in your house and constantly transmits signals, and whenever the i-button is in standby mode and it recieves the signal, it replies and unlocks your door.
delirium, Sep 10 2000
  

       I get the just of jutta's idea. Sometimes you still want a physical manifestation of 'access'. Like when I give the catsitter my front door key before I leave on vacation, then she gives it back to me when i return. I don't need to bother with registering her retinas, I hand her the key. And if she's sick and asks her substitute to feed my cat, the key is passed. Sure, it's not as secure as biometric IDs. But I think there will still be a place for non-biometric access to objects.
koz, Sep 11 2000
  

       The iButton is *not* a proximity device. It uses Dallas Semiconductor's "one-wire bus", and requires physical contact with a sensor. They *definitely* do not have "gps trackers" in them. They can store a small amount of memory, and some of the more advanced models can perform internal cryptographic processing (a la smart cards).   

       There are lots of electronic solutions; I'm surprised nobody has mentioned a simple combination lock as another possibility. As Jutta[17 July 2000] points out, everyone is missing the mechanical aspect, which is what makes this idea unique and cool. Notably, unlike all of the other solutions proposed, it does not require people to carry around yet another gadget -- *everyone* already carries (ordinary, physical) keys.
egnor, Sep 12 2000
  

       How little everyone in 2000 knew of the significance 9-11 would gain 1 year later.
Unless I've misread entirely, the idea its elf seems to be implemented at various hotels - using keys with grooves - sans notches & are given new settings for each guest. They fit on keyrings and all that and insert into lock without need for twisting where it gets the green light or red, then unlocks. I use a few scancard keys on a daily basis. Check out the date of the idea.
thumbwax, Jul 22 2002
  

       I like it. I like it muchly.
pigonthewing, Feb 01 2006
  

       In order for the inserted key to be aligned right for the image scanner to see it right, the lock needs grooves for the key to slide through, so that those grooves force the key into an appropriate orientation... in which case you can only fit one brand, or a few brands of key, into your lock. So you won't be able to use *any* of the keys you already have; only keys you already have which of the appropriate brand.   

       Of course, if your digital lock made a 3d scan, and could reorient the scan into a "standard" orientation, then lock wouldn't need such grooves, and any key would work.   

       Somehow, though, I suspect that the increased cost of such a system, compared to one which scans cards, probably isn't worth it... no matter how much you prefer the feel of a bit of metal turning in a lock.
goldbb, Mar 17 2009
  

       Why stop at keys. If we're imaging old bits of metal (or whatever) why not just stick any old thing in there - a coin, a pen, old nails, screwdrivers, bits of tin foil.
mecotterill, Mar 19 2009
  

       and once the proper virtual key is inserted, a sound of tumblers being turned is heard and an animated picture of a door opening is projected onto the wall.
FlyingToaster, Mar 19 2009
  

       Yes, [mecotterill]. You could just use your finger :-)
VaquitaTim, Mar 19 2009
  

       I love the idea, but second [mecotterill]'s addendum: any suitably invariant and singular object could be used as 'key'. Much less false negatives than in biometrics, probably similarly easy/hard to fool, and requires no extra gadgets on the side of the user.
loonquawl, Mar 19 2009
  

       Just have an fmc key to enter.
travbm, Oct 29 2015
  
      
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