A Georgia Institute of Technology team of researchers have created a self-powered intelligent keyboard. It is wireless, water resistant, and most importantly—secure—because it is able to identify users by the way they type. It monitors the force and rhythm of each keystroke, which the research team says is unique for each person and can therefore be used as a biomarker in place of a computer password.
The keyboard is made of polyethylene terephthalate sandwiched between layers of indium tin oxide which is coated with fluorinated ethylene propylene. Instead of using mechanical operation like traditional keyboards, the smart keyboard works by using coupling between contact electrification and electrostatic induction. Contact electrification generates electricity when a user’s fingertips tap the device which is made of plastic coated with electrode material. A small charge is produced when skin and the electronic keyboard come together and then move apart.
The team used materials that are standard for consumer electronics and they expect it to be as affordable and durable as mechanical keyboards.