The future of passwords

We use passwords constantly in our everyday lives to protect our data, access our phones, use our social media accounts or to make banking transactions. But passwords seem to live exclusively in the digital world today.
As part of our one-week long investigation during the Immersive Experiences course, the team explored how the intangible concept of passwords might manifest itself in the physical world.
In this project, the password is represented in the form of four identical cubes that sit on a stand. Through an AR-enabled device (in this case through the user’s own phone), the user can see a virtual puzzle of Pac-man that lives on the surface of the cubes (The puzzle could manifest in a number of ways- a Rubik’s cube, slot machine etc.). The user has to solve the puzzle to unlock the phone or app they are trying to access.
However, entering the password grants access only for a short period of time. When this time period is up, four solenoids in the stand push the cubes off of their resting positions, reshuffling the puzzle. This is equivalent to the concept of “password timeout” that many apps have.
This added effort to have access to your phone or an app can be useful in many different contexts: for people who cannot help themselves and check their phones first thing in the morning or right before sleeping, for people who want to be mindful of how much time they spend on social media, or for any kind of application that requires an extra layer of security. The team created this project using Unity, Raspberry Pi, and Spacebrew.