New Bluetooth accessory 'Sesame' automatically locks your Mac when you step away

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Connected devices maker Atama has revealed their latest product, a Bluetooth 4.0-based key fob that is designed to automatically lock and unlock the owner's Mac based on their proximity.

Sesame


The fob, which is approximately the size of the Fitbit One activity tracker, packs a Bluetooth 4.0 radio and can run for months on a single coin-cell battery, according to London-based Atama. The company says Sesame takes advantage of Bluetooth 4.0's Low Energy mode, and that a "Mac's battery will barely be affected" by the device.

Sesame secures the user's Mac by using OS X's built-in screen saver password lock function. A companion application controls the distance at which the screen saver should be engaged and can also stop or start iTunes playback at the same time.

Sesame


For more security-conscious users, Sesame can be used as a kind of two-factor authentication device. Rather than returning to a fully unlocked Mac, users who choose the two-factor method will be asked to both enter their system password and press a small button located on the Sesame.

"Securing your Mac while you're away is something you shouldn't need to think about," Eric Ferraz, CEO of Atama, said in a statement.

The idea of locking and unlocking a Mac with Bluetooth has been applied in the past by software-based approaches --?like Appuous's Keycard -- that work with other devices, such as a user's cell phone. One downside to this approach is the potential for a significant impact on battery life for the paired device.

Atama, who also makes the Kilo smartphone-connected scale, notes that Sesame will be compatible with a variety of Mac laptops and desktops running Mountain Lion and Mavericks when it ships for $39.99 later in November. Stay tuned to AppleInsider in the coming weeks for a hands-on with Sesame.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 17
    I thought that was an idea for the iphone already, maybe not?
  • Reply 2 of 17
    I don't care for many automated actions. Too easy to forget, too easy to lose something.
  • Reply 3 of 17
    I thought so too. Shouldn't the iPhone be able to do this, or is there some limit on iBeacons and BLE? Also, I wonder if this device could be made to work for the iPhone as well, for instance locking your phone if it is separated from your keychain and say, left at a bar?

    Edit: Is there something obvious I'm missing, is this stuff under NDA?
  • Reply 4 of 17
    boeyc15boeyc15 Posts: 986member
    I like the idea myself, if you not near an FOB(at home) or car or work... the screen is lock. Android does this with NFC I understand(no first hand knowledge)
  • Reply 5 of 17
    relicrelic Posts: 4,735member
    Great more dangles. I hate automated security, if I want to secure my MacBook I close the lid.
  • Reply 6 of 17

    Would be interesting to see any advantages to iOS apps doing the same. And why does it need to be so big? 

  • Reply 7 of 17
    akqiesakqies Posts: 768member
    I don't care for many automated actions. Too easy to forget, too easy to lose something.

    If that's the case then you are just doing what you do know. There is definitely a convenience factor that can save time while adding additional security. I'd personally like to see an iWatch (hat among it's many features) will allow my Mac to lock and unlock simply be being in close proximity. The same goes for my iPhone and iPad. This could mean that if someone on a subway steals an iPhone out of someone's hand, which means it's currently being used and therefore is currently unlocked that the phone could auto lock when it's out of proximity of the iWatch. This could also disable the ability to disable Airplane Mode. It's not a complete solution but it is extra security that otherwise wouldn't exist.

    I'd also like to see Apple buy and integrate Tile into their devices but that's another discussion.
  • Reply 8 of 17
    You can do it already with an iPhone. I'm not a fan of this software, but yeah, here's the iPhone version...

    https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/keycard/id578513438?mt=12
  • Reply 9 of 17
    ecatsecats Posts: 272member
    There is no shortage of apps and even applescripts that perform this function with -any- bluetooth enabled phone.
  • Reply 10 of 17
    akqiesakqies Posts: 768member
    ecats wrote: »
    There is no shortage of apps and even applescripts that perform this function with -any- bluetooth enabled phone.

    How do they know when your phone has gotten a certain distance away to lock screen if it's not Bluetooth?
  • Reply 11 of 17
    irelandireland Posts: 17,771member
    I use an app we made. An app that was so minimal Apple wouldn't approve it on the Mac App Store. I guess that's why I'm no longer in the app business.
  • Reply 12 of 17

    This was cool 6 years ago when I had an app on my BlackBerry that locked/unlocked my PC through Bluetooth. It used your signal strength to determine how far you were from your computer and you could adjust sensitivity.

     

    Worked great... when my phone battery wasn't dead.

  • Reply 13 of 17
    I've been using BtProx (BT Proximity) from Dave Amenta on a Windows machine for 2 years now to achieve the same thing.

    You pair any phone with your PC with the native bluetooth stack, and the software locks your PC when it loses the connection to your phone. You can configure the timing, and pings.

    This being a hardware solution seems like overkill considering how minimal the battery impact is on the phone and the computer.
  • Reply 14 of 17
    Waste of money, as it appears most people could get the same basic functionality from an iPhone app like TokenLock (which gets much better reviews than KeyCard) for only $3. How is this product going to survive? TokenLock seems pretty full-featured.
  • Reply 15 of 17
    ipenipen Posts: 410member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by lesag002 View Post



    Waste of money, as it appears most people could get the same basic functionality from an iPhone app like TokenLock (which gets much better reviews than KeyCard) for only $3. How is this product going to survive? TokenLock seems pretty full-featured.

    Exactly.  DOA.  Only for people using mac but don't have iphone.  That's pretty rare.  Usually it's the other way around.

  • Reply 16 of 17
    akqiesakqies Posts: 768member
    ipen wrote: »
    Exactly.  DOA.  Only for people using mac but don't have iphone.  That's pretty rare.  Usually it's the other way around.

    You don't even need an iPhone with these Mac apps, just a BT device. I'm hoping my Fitbit Force can have BT on constantly so it works with TokenLock reliably.
  • Reply 17 of 17
    The point of this product is that you do NOT have to own an iPhone or other bluetooth device to use it.

    That also means that if you DO have such a device you do not need to keep its bluetooth powered on (and draining your battery) all of the time.

    I too am a bit surprised that its not at least a bit smaller. I think that the size is limited by the size of the battery, the mechanical strength needed to have something that attaches to a keyring and does not break easily, and they probably did not spend a great deal of money to shrink the circuitry as much as possible. If the product is launched and there is a good market, then they would probably invest in the design and tooling efforts to make it smaller and sell it as v2.0 of their product.
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