Every college student knows the fear of leaving their laptop unattended in the library. But what is one supposed to do if when you have a lust for coffee or need badly to go to the bathroom? Many people may ask the random stranger sitting next to them to watch their laptop, but you never know who you can trust. Many newer laptops no longer have the ability to connect a cable lock. Our goal was to find a solution to this situation!
What it does
The Library Lockdown is a small compact personal security device that prevents your unattended laptop from being stolen. Using the library lockdown is a simple, two-step procedure: just insert the device and run the lock program! While the laptop is locked, a warning statement is displayed on the screen to deter any potential thieves. If your laptop is moved while it is locked, alarms will sound both on the laptop and the Library Lockdown device. The alarm will also sound if the device is unplugged from your laptop. When the alarm is set off, the laptop will send messages to your phone alerting you of situation. The only way to disarm the device is to enter the pass code.
How we built it
The Library Lockdown consists of two parts: a USB device and a program on the laptop. The USB device is made up of an Arduino, an accelerometer, an external battery, and a buzzer. The program is a python script that communicates with the Arduino to detect when the laptop is moved or the USB is disconnected. When the code determines the laptop has been disturbed, the alarms are set off through the Arduino and laptop software. The python script also provides a UI to arm and disarm the lock. Lastly, the Telegram API is utilized to message a phone from the laptop.
Challenges we ran into
Accelerometer data was inconsistent and required a fair amount of processing. Additionally, they were many different scenarios we had to consider for the project. For example, a thief may simply try to pick up your laptop, but they could also unplug the USB device or turn the laptop off. We implemented an alarm in both the USB device and the laptop software to protect against all of these scenarios.
What we learned
This was our first time using serial communication between Arduino and Python. We can see many opportunities where we can apply this new skill in the future.
What's next for The Library Lockdown.
We plan to redesign the device to be much more compact. This would revolve around designing a custom PCB instead of using an Arduino and all the external components.