Synchronised shaking secures wireless link between cellphones

November 14th, 2007 - 5:40 pm ICT by admin  

London, November 14 (ANI): Researchers at Lancaster University in the UK have developed prototype software that enables the establishment of a secure wireless link between two cellular phones just by holding them together and shaking vigorously.
Rene Mayrhofer, who conceived the idea of connecting two gadgets in this manner with his colleague Hans Gellersen, says that the software uses built-in accelerometers in the phones to measure the movement of each device as it is shaken.
The researchers say that the accelerometer readings would match perfectly only if the devices were held tightly together, a reason why the system is safe.
“From the user point of view, it just provides a natural way to pair devices,” says New Scientist magazine quoted Mayrhofer as saying.
He believes that the shake-to-connect technology may pave the way for easier to connect cellphone peripherals such as a wireless headset.
At present, users are required to select the correct device from a list and then enter a PIN supplied with the gadget.
Mayrhofer says that round 95 per cent of headsets have “0000″ as the default PIN code, which is an indication of security weakness.
With a view to testing their shake-to-connect technology from the security point of view, the researchers asked volunteers to try to connect a pair of devices without actually holding them together.
Although pairs of volunteers shook the devices in exactly the same way, they found it very difficult to make a connection that way.
“We gave them lots of help, like metronomes and music to help their timing and some could do it, but it was still hard,” Mayrhofer says.
He also feels that the shaking protocol may become a part of more critical transactions in future.
“You could authenticate or transfer money between credit cards by just giving them a shake,” he says.
The researcher’s work was named the “best paper” at the 5th International Conference on Pervasive Computing at Toronto, Canada, earlier this year. (ANI)

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