Printing Your Way Out of TroubleCategory: Science & Technology
Posted: July 19, 2012 04:26AM
Wouldn't it be nice if every time you got in trouble you could just print something to get yourself out of it? Well, in some cases this may be possible. A German security researcher has found that it is possible to unlock some handcuffs with keys made on a 3D printer.
An important feature of all handcuffs is that they all use the same key. This is for the obvious reason of preventing the possibility of a key being lost. Of course this also means it is easier for people to free themselves, so the keys have limited availability in the market place. The researcher though was able to get his hand on three and took precise measurements he then entered in a computer. Using a 3D printer he replicated his own handcuff keys and was able to open a pair of handcuffs with them. Not all the original keys were made the same though as one he replicated was unable to turn the lock without breaking.
Of the three computer models he made for the keys, the researcher has uploaded one of them to a 3D printing repository. The other two are based on harder to find keys, so he is keeping them secret. The reason he posted the key online like that was to show everyone, police and criminal, that this can happen. Also, he does not believe this discovery will make it easier for anyone to escape the law. "If someone is planning a prison or court escape, he can do it without our help."