It's a really clever idea: bolts and latches that fasten and unfasten in response to remote computer commands.
What Rudduck developed are fasteners analogous to locks in doors, only in this case messages are sent electronically to engage the parts to lock or unlock. A quick electrical charge triggered remotely by a device or computer may move the part to lock, while another jolt disengages the unit.
Instead of nuts and bolts to hold two things together, these fasteners use hooks, latches and so-called smart materials that can change shape on command.The first commercial applications are intended for aircraft, allowing crews to quickly reshape interiors to maximize payload space. For long flights, the plane may need more high-cost business-class seats, while shorter hauls prefer a more abundant supply of coach seats.
Pretty clever, actually. The whole article is interesting.
But this part scares me:
A potential security breach threat apparently doesn't exist.
"I wondered what's to prevent some nut using a garage door opener from pushing the right buttons to make your airplane fall apart," said Harrison. "But everything is locked down with codes, and the radio signals are scrambled, so this is fully secured against hackers."
Clearly this Harrison guy knows nothing about computer security.
EDITED TO ADD: Slashdot has a thread on the topic.
Posted on April 3, 2006 at 12:57 PM • 43 Comments