Tagged With locks

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Video: Guns are used to blow the locks off doors in movies and TV so often that we don't stop to think if what we're seeing is possible. (For the record, the answer is: Sometimes.) But what does it take for a lock to be totally bulletproof?

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Video: You're not going to be a master locksmith after you watch this video showing you three ways to break open a lock, but you might stop putting your faith in cheap padlocks. That's because a few bent paperclips could jimmy the thing open. Even just jamming a screwdriver into the keyhole can make it unlock. Or if you're super experimental, you can trace a key using tape and then cut out its shape on a flimsy metal can.

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Video: Locks are meant to be broken. Torches are meant to wield fire. So it makes total sense to use a torch to melt the hell out of a lock to bust it open, right? Exactly! Watch as the fire from this torch completely obliterates the lock, so much so that it just oozes open and leaves the U-shape metal totally exposed. Awesome.

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Video: It's just a pushable basket you use to store groceries and occasionally ride around the aisles on, so why do shopping trolleys cost $US100 ($131) each? Science Channel details how the shopping trolley is made with 68m of a steel cage covered in Telfon, how the bumpers can withstand 48km/h crashes and how the wheels use the same material as roller coasters. It all adds up to a lightweight trolley that can hold 160kg of stuff and survive over 35,000 shops across the span of a decade.

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Video: Here's a nice little exploded and dissected visualisation of a modern safe. For this particular model, over 500 parts are used to make up the impenetrable box with 26 hardened steel bolts keeping things shut tight. It's also fireproof to up to 650°C and has a lock with 1.2 million possible combinations.

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Video: Safes, locks and other security measures of that nature? They're all eventually doomed because they're designed to open. It's just a matter of how long it takes. With the help of rare earth magnets, it takes just seconds. Here is Mr Locksmith demonstrating how a rare earth magnet can exploit the nickel piece in this Sentry Electronic Safe to get it open without any damage.

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Video: It doesn't take much effort to bust open a Master Lock. All you need to do is apply a little bit of pressure on one end and then add a few taps at the other side in a specific spot and pop, the thing opens pretty easily. Shockingly so! In fact, you don't even really need a hammer to do this trick, the end of a screwdriver would work too. Locks don't lock anything.

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Of all the technology you use on a daily basis, you probably pay the least attention to the mechanical miracles that keep your home or your gym bag secure. Locks and keys have been around for millennia, but they are undergoing one of their rare historic shifts — from mechanical to electronic, from isolated to interconnected.

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TSA-recognised locks provide little more than a false sense of security. That's not news. It is news, however, that some hacker type has uploaded the CAD files of the agency's master keys to Github, so that anybody can 3D-print them at home. Let the stealing begin!

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You might chuckle at the idea of a drunk cyclist, but since they often share the road with motorists, they can be just as dangerous as an inebriated driver. So if you don't trust yourself to leave your bike locked up after having one too many, this bike lock will only open after you use its built-in breathalyser.

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The pursuit of lock picking is as old as the lock, which is itself as old as civilisation. But in the entire history of the world, there was only one brief moment, lasting about 70 years, where you could put something under lock and key — a chest, a safe, your home — and have complete, unwavering certainty that no intruder could get to it.

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Even if you're the forgetful type who's always prone to losing their keys, there's a good chance your smartphone never gets misplaced. After all, how could you ever risk missing a single tweet or Instagram update? So Schlage is introducing a new electronic door lock called the Sense that adds Bluetooth alongside a glowing keypad allowing you to use your smartphone as a wireless front door key when your hands are too full to type.

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With the amount of information they're expected to ingest every day during high school, it's a small miracle any student is able to remember the combination of their locker padlock. And it doesn't get any easier the older you get. So instead of numbers, the Image Lock uses simple shapes and images so you can just make up a story to help you recall its combination.

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I'm a big fan of cutaway things, specially if they are real like this lock. It's fascinating to see how machines and mechanisms work, with the little pins and springs moving to fit the shape of the key, leaving the barrel free to move when everything clicks.

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I've been following the smart lock market with great interest. There are some odd ideas, common mistakes and a lot of hyperbole, but also intrepid engineering, smart marketing and a level playing field. For the first time in decades there is serious public interest in locks and it's pinging the historian in me hard. I'm going to provide some context, refute some dubious claims, and offer my opinion on what's exciting, what's overhyped, and what I hope is coming next.