Totem Pass is a encryption method that uses muscle memory from your hand. With Totem Pass installed in your door, you and only you will be able to unlock it. The best part is that you don't need to memorise any password. The password is stored in your muscle memory and will not be accessed from anyone except for your very own hand.

This prototype is a fully functioning prototype that allows you program certain gestures of your hands and use it as the password to unlock it. There are five flex sensors on each finger of the glove measuring the movement of the fingers. There is also an accelerometer on the back of the hand monitoring the movement of the hand.

This video is the prototype in action. I connected the system to a motor to control a door. In the video, you will see my hands doing a few random finger movements and none of them triggers the door to be opened. Later in the vide, when only my thumb and index finger were straight and all other fingers were curled, I turned my hand to the right quickly. This combination of finger gestures and hand movement had been programed to be the password to unlock the system. When it happened the door was opened.

When using this method to unlock things, the ideas is that you will be using gestures that you are very familier with. It will be a gesture that only you know how to perform. During the exploration, I found that our muscle memories are triggered with more accuracy when it is interacting with physical feedback. So as you will see in the following video, I am using a totem (my iPhone) as my key to open the door.

The logic behind it is that an object that you carry with you becomes your totem (it could be a card, a phone or even your other hand, just like in the movie Inception), and only you know what your totem is and how you would hold it when triggering Totem Pass. The way you hold is will be memorised by your muscle memory, and the password is stored in the way you hold your totem and no one will be able to access the geture even if they see you using it.

In this video, I opened the door with my totem in front of Tom who was watching me doing it. However, with a few attempts to replicate my gesture, he was not able to unlock the Totem Pass.

I will add more details of this project in this article to explain how it works very soon.

To be continued...

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