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Lock pic.

Take a pic; toss the pick
  [vote for,

Lock picking with a rake is terribly frustrating, often ends in failure on high security doors, and can leave the intruder exposed. Instead, the pattern of the particular key could be attained by photographing the key as it is put into the pin tumbler lock. A digital camera with a nice zoom and mega pixel rating would be needed. The door would need to be approachable, so the brand and model of the lock could be discovered (maybe with a clay imprint). If the correct angle could be obtained, the pattern would be visible, zoom adjusted on the computer so that the key is in its actual size, and then a key could be filed into a working copy.

The problem would be photographing the key directly from the side (even with the lock) and at the height of the lock as it is just about to be inserted. The accuracy of the key's contours may not to be perfectly proportional. Doesn't a key have only 4 or so generic levels that cut into the key that meant to lift the pins? If the measurements used for each level were known, numbering the key’s pattern 1-4 would be easy be rather easy. Instead of filing down the key to the picture, levels could be assigned to each place on the key that corresponds to a pin.

Glare from a shiny key may be a problem. Possibly a hidden camera could be rigged to snap a picture when the tip of the key (being inserted into the lock) completes an electrical circuit.

psyche, Mar 20 2004

similar idea involving ATMs http://www.utexas.edu/admin/utpd/atm.html
www.utexas.edu [futurebird, Oct 04 2004]


       I think this should perhaps be filed under 'public: evil' or somesuch. The idea is to use an electronic camera to surreptitiously capture the shape of someone's key so that an illegitimate copy can be made later.   

       While the general notion is somewhat hi-tech (similar to planted cameras for PIN-snooping) but the general concept is very old. Read //The Great Train Robbery//.
supercat, Mar 21 2004

       A novel approach (I believe), but easily foiled by masking the key with your hand as you insert it. Even easier, of course, to put your hand over the lens cover.
DrCurry, Mar 21 2004

       You'd need to do it on an often-used door; even if most people mask the key you only need one shot at the key in the open.   

       That said, I've a feeling this isn't original.
kropotkin, Mar 22 2004

       Lock key blanks for high-security doors are not available in the market place. Many car keys blanks, for luxury cars, are not now available for instance. A talented lock pic can pic regular Yale/Chubb locks in seconds. I believe the term 'scrubbing' is used to pic all tumblers at once, and using this technique, a simple Yale can be picked in seconds. Also, wouldn't you notice a camera added to your high security door?
Bobble, Mar 22 2004

       If you had a powerful enough zoom lens the camera wouldn't have to be located next to the door. You could hide it in bushes or some other secluded place. And just because you can't buy key blanks doesn't mean you couldn't make keys - you can't exactly buy lock picks in your local hardware store either.
kropotkin, Mar 22 2004

       You can't buy lock pics either, agreed, but once I've made one, it is suitable for a wide range of locks, whereas a key is suitable for just one lock. Hiding the camera is difficult, if the key is too be viewed perfectly laterally (as in the idea). Additionally, many high security keys are double sided, and probably have other features which would need more than 1 camera to pick up. The key has to be 100%, otherwise you're going to look a bit foolish going back and forwards testing it out many times.
Bobble, Mar 22 2004

       Have you no proof that //this isn't original// Sir kropotkin?   

       Hiding the camera a distance away would make the idea more feasable. Thanks for that addition.
psyche, Mar 22 2004

       Any lock that's high-security enough that a skilled locksmith can't pick it in under a minute is likely to be more complex than a simple tumbler-pin setup. This method will fail completely on any lockset that requires a magnetic code or a RFID chip embedded in the key.
Freefall, Mar 22 2004

       why do i get the idea that we are helping to iron out the problems in psyche's plan?   

       Psyche your not planning a robbery are you?
engineer1, Mar 24 2004

       he he he check the news on March 28th
psyche, Mar 25 2004

       This would be useless against one of the new Circular Yale locks (like the kind on my bike lock; this is NOT the old Circular Pin kind that you could pass with a ball-point pen).   

       Oh, and P.S: This is *EVIL*.
HalfBaker, Oct 03 2007

       You don't need to make a replica key. Simply being able to look at the correct key is an enormous help when picking.
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 03 2007


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