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Big Nerd Ranch Clash of the Coders: Rule-based lock screens


One of the nicest things about hanging out with coders is the exposure to their pet personal projects. Brian James Turner at Big Nerd Ranch has been working on a new take on lock screens.

Hosted at github, Turner's project transforms the iOS lockscreen from a series of memorized numbers or letters into a logical sequence of choices.

Each challenge screen is randomly generated. Instead of a number grid or password entry field, you see a set of geometric objects.

You enter your password by following rules. "For example, my passcode might be small green, triangle," he explained. If you tap a small object followed by a green one and then a triangle, the system lets you in.

It's a novel take on a familiar challenge, and there's never "one" right answer. Even if someone is looking over your shoulder, it will be hard for them to duplicate the reasoning. For example, was the first choice small, green or circle?

In the current proof of concept, an overlooked three-choice sequence represents up to 27 possibilities. This complexity expands as the password grows longer and the shape and color vocabulary expands, providing ever greater levels of lock screen security.

Erica is reporting this week from Big Nerd Ranch's Clash of the Coders, the shop's annual internal developer challenge.

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