3D printed from titanium, Stealth Keys are nearly impossible to duplicate

The idea that you might surreptitiously snap a photo of someone’s house key and build a duplicate from it to break into their home sounds like a James Bond plot twist. So too does a 3D-printed titanium solution, which hides its security features inside — thereby rendering it unscannable.

In fact, the so-called Stealth Key is the creation of Swiss company UrbanAlps, which figured out a way to use additive manufacturing to make keys that keep their teeth concealed from view. The result is an alternative to regular, run-of-the-mill keys that can be easily scanned and copied.

“It is made using 3D-metal printing, or more precisely selective laser melting,” company co-founder Alejandro Ojeda told Digital Trends. “Thanks to this approach, we can make complex internal structures that are hidden, to block 3D-scanning of the mechanical code. It is a very simple approach, but one of the most effective ones. If such keys were to be produced using traditional manufacturing it would be impossible or at least very expensive. However, thanks to 3D-metal printing it’s cost effective. Each single key printed is different, even in batches of 850 at the same time.”

“It represents a disruption, both product-wise and manufacturing-wise,” he said.

stealth key 3d printed titanium real pic 2

Ojeda said he started working on the Stealth Key following work in the research and development department of a gas turbine company, where he used 3D-metal printing to invent new turbine parts with increased internal complexity. He then left the company to do a Ph.D. in lasers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology before turning his attention to the idea of developing an unbreakable key.

“The first proof-of-concept was rather bulky, but it worked and we have made amazing progress since then,” he continued. “The real challenge is not so much designing the key, but the cylinder to read the key internals. Reliability is one of the main reasons why mechanical cylinders are still dominant — with 90 percent of market share — despite the existence of electronic locks. People take mechanical cylinders for granted, but these genius mechanisms work for 20 to 30 years without a single fault — something electronic systems cannot provide. And there is no battery to change, either.”

Costing around $200, a pair of Stealth Keys and a cylinder lock mechanism is not the cheapest option out there, although it is not dissimilar in price to other high-security systems boasting high-grade cylinders. But if there is one thing it is worth splurging on, it is the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your home is safe.

After all, you never know when a Swiss mastermind with a Ph.D. in lasers and a portable 3D scanner will want to try and break in!

Smart Home

With a simple command, Alexa can arm all your security devices

Alexa customers can query status plus arm or disarm home security systems several companies. New Alexa Guard skills set your home to away mode, send alerts when alarms or sensors go off, and contact home security monitoring services.
Computing

Secure your Excel documents with a password by following these quick steps

Excel documents are used by people and businesses all over the world. Given how often they contain sensitive information, it makes sense to keep them from the wrong eyes. Thankfully, it's easy to secure them with a password.
Smart Home

These wireless security cameras are a wire-free way to protect your home

Home security cameras can give you piece of mind, but if they have wires, are limited in where you can put them. We've rounded up the best battery-operated home security cameras to give you flexibility along with your security.
Smart Home

Ring Alarm vs. Nest Secure: Which one is right for you?

Thanks to the advance of technology, it's become really easy nowadays to secure your home and protect it from thieves, intruders, and unwanted guests. Which one of these two top contenders is right for you?
Emerging Tech

Postmates’ to roll out Minion-like autonomous delivery robots in 2019

Postmates is about to employ a cute little robot to work alongside its human delivery personnel. Called Serve, the wheel-based bot can carry items weighing up to 50 pounds and has a range of 30 miles.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Emerging Tech

Rise of the Machines: Here’s how much robots and A.I. progressed in 2018

2018 has generated no shortage of news, and the worlds of A.I. and robotics are no exception. Here are our picks for the most exciting, game changing examples of both we saw this year.
Emerging Tech

Are e-cigarettes safe? Here’s what the most recent science says

Ecigarettes are widely regarded and advertised as a healthier alternative to cigarettes for people who are trying to kick the smoking habit. How safe are these cigarette alternatives? We went deep into the recent scientific literature to…
Emerging Tech

Thrill-seekers will be able to pilot themselves in a giant drone as soon as 2019

Want to hitch a ride on a giant drone? The startup Lift Aircraft is gearing up to let paying customers fly its 18-rotor giant drones over assorted scenic landscapes across the U.S.
Emerging Tech

CRISPR gene therapy regulates hunger, staves off severe obesity in mice

Researchers from UC San Francisco have demonstrated how CRISPR gene editing can be used to prevent severe obesity in mice, without making a single edit to the mouse's genome. Here's how.
Emerging Tech

Capture app saves money by 3D scanning objects using iPhone’s TrueDepth camera

Capture is a new iPhone app created by the Y Combinator-backed startup Standard Cyborg. It allows anyone to perform 3D scans of objects and share them with buddies. Here's how it works.
Emerging Tech

Sick of walking everywhere? Here are the best electric skateboards you can buy

Thanks for Kickstarter and Indiegogo, electric skateboards are carving a bigger niche than you might think. Whether you're into speed, mileage, or something a bit more stylish, here are the best electric skateboards on the market.
Emerging Tech

Parker Solar Probe captures first image from within the atmosphere of the sun

NASA has shared the first image from inside the atmosphere of the sun taken by the Parker Solar Probe. The probe made the closest ever approach to a star, gathering data which scientists have been interpreting and released this week.
Emerging Tech

Say cheese: InSight lander posts a selfie from the surface of Mars

NASA's InSight mission to Mars has commemorated its arrival by posting a selfie. The selfie is a composite of 11 different images which were taken by one of its instruments, the Instrument Deployment Camera.