h a l f b a k e r y
On the one hand, true. On the other hand, bollocks.
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Keys, in their current and most popular iteration, are easily
duplicated (whether we want them to be or not). They are
based on pins, springs, cams and valleys. The concept has
been around for centuries. Moving ahead, we have key cards.
These, too, with the right tools, can be easily duplicated.
This idea is to create a key that is not easily duplicated, using
crystals. The crystal material can be of many colors and have
a variety of impurities. Different form factors can be used,
cylinders, wafers, squares, etc. The concept is to have a
laser shone through it and access granted or denied
depending on the patterns and colors that come out through
the otherwise. Multiple lasers will be used at different
angles, truly utilizing the 3D geometry of the crystal's
imperfections. Keys would be easy to make, but difficult to
||Bakeable. A unique key based on random optical domains can be made simply enough.
||The lock, of course, will need to "learn" each key; either the key needs to be presented to it, or the key's pattern needs to be uploaded. Either way, substantial storage capacity is needed. The best mechanical keys only have a million or so differs; electronic keys can easily provide almost unlimited options. A magstripe can carry 128 bits of data - 2 ^ 128 is 3.5 x 10 ^ 38 ...
||The advantage of mechanical locks is they require no electrical power source. They can be inactive indefinitely, yet present the correct key, and they will function as intended.
||This is an important consideration if the technical infrastructure of your civilization collapses, like yours is about to.
It's hard enough keeping them in their seats long enough for them to hit the snack-bar at least twice without people giving away all of the plot twists.
Please don't make me lock the writers back in their little hovel again. HR is still on my ass over the last time.
||Keys need to be fairly easy to duplicate. How often have
you lost a key and needed a duplicate? So, what they really
need is assurance that a "guess" key (equivalent to trying to
"pick" a regular lock) will almost always be the wrong key.
||No need to duplicate a key. Create a "learn yar key"
key which will allow you to insert another key to
||Keys are also good for springing open the odd bottle of
beer, or gouging out the eye of an otherwise determined
attacker, where waving a crystal in font of them would
have little effect.
||//a "guess" key (equivalent to trying to "pick" a regular
lock)// Not that this is relevant to the present
discussion, but that's not how lockpicking works. When
you pick a conventional lock, you are actually just
nudging the "first" (ie, most heavily loaded) pin until you
find its position; then the next-most, and so on. In
effect, you open the lock one pin at a time, relying on
imperfect manufacturing to allow you to do so.
||The other common method of lockpicking is called
bumping, and usually uses a manual or electric bumper.
A very sharp, low-amplitude tap drives the top part of
every pin upwards whilst leaving the bottom parts more
or less stationary (like the middle ball in a Newton's
Cradle), thereby opening up a wide gap across all the pins
and allowing the lock to turn. This requires less (though
not no) skill.
||The weakness with super-duper electronic keys (like the
one described) is not in the key/lock itself. Invariably,
other ways are found to bypass the lock. As a for
instance, hotel room safes usually have a user-set 4 or 6
digit code - not easy to "crack" from cold. However, most
types have a "master override" code set by the
manufacturer, and hoteliers often don't bother to change
this code, so if you know a manufacturer's override code
it will work on most of their safes. Another few types can
be opened just by banging them the right way - the
heavy-looking solenoid-operated bolt is mounted on a
spring, and a sharp blow in the right spot will cause it to
bounce, opening the safe. Many super-duper-almost-
unpickable padlocks can be shimmed, etc etc.
||But now I'm just rambling.
||What I'm wondering, as been hinted at, how many duplicates for friends and family? Is it one unique crystal broken many times, <feel sad> many manufactured slices </feel sad> or the Dark Crystal option?
|| As soon as you mass manufacture, you've lost uniqueness, the straight key to the key lock pair.