Some of you may be aware of the Flir One Pro that turns your smartphone into a thermal imaging camera.

This can easily be used irresponsibly:

If we can get you out the room in under 60 seconds (and) get your keyboard, I can figure out your password to your computer ... some devices are so strong that the thermal print can be detected more than a minute later and even have a way to detect the order in which numbers were typed. (source)

Just wondering if there is any effort in curbing this behavior by using low specific heat materials when making such keyboards. For example, keyboards made of a micro lattice structure like inflated foam or something that wicks heat rapidly.

  • I'm not sure what you call a "key code" and its "finger print", can you edit your question to make it more clear ? Are we talking about pointing a thermal camera at an ATM keyboard to see which keys have been pressed recently ? In that case, I don't think there is a lot we can do, as all materials would be heated by a finger pressing them. – Elzo Nov 18 '17 at 9:40
  • Yes. A physical keyboard. – user158151 Nov 18 '17 at 16:33
  • You should rephrase the question so that people understand it. As it is now, it's ambiguous. I don't know enough to write an answer, but a well-written question will help you get one. – Elzo Nov 18 '17 at 16:38
  • I hope my edits were ok. Feel free to revert. – Mike Ounsworth Nov 18 '17 at 17:56
  • This might be a good question to ask on the physics StackExchange, since most of us here are not materials experts. – forest Dec 25 '17 at 1:23

I suspect that you are over-complicating this issue.

In public areas, there are much easier ways to capture the information and we already have advice to customers such as wiping your hand over the keypad after use - this also ensures that fingerprints are obscured.

In private, secure areas - for example in high security use - we would expect physical controls to help prevent access and all non-approved devices are likely to be banned - windows may also have protective screens.

So I very much doubt that the cost and complexity of such a solution would be worthwhile to anyone.

  • I'm just saying that if the keyboards were made of a ridge-like texture, then it not only acts like a sink, but also lifting prints on a textured surface will obfuscate the results for the criminal. It's also not a worldwide proposal. I'm just saying an option for those who seek it. At scale the per unit cost would go down with enough demand. – user158151 Nov 24 '17 at 22:24

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