Aside from different types of key switches, backlighting and perhaps macro capabilities, keyboard technology has largely gone unchanged over the last several decades. That may soon no longer be the case

Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology as well as those from the Beijing Institute of Nanoenergy and Nanosystems and other labs in China have developed a keyboard that, among other capabilities, is able to identify users based on how they type.

It’s able to build a user profile by measuring metrics such as how much pressure is applied to keys while typing and the speed that key presses are carried out. Software already exists that can identify a person based on keystroke timing but the researchers argue that the software-approach is more limited than their intelligent keyboard as the latter can analyze additional metrics like pressure.

If the keyboard detects the typist isn’t an authorized user, it’ll lock them out and also record the keystrokes they’ve entered.

This feature alone could add a new level of protection as it relates to digital security but there’s plenty more technology buried in this prototype. In fact, the board is able to generate electricity as a user types and remains dirt, hair and crumb-free thanks to its dirt repellant coating and clever design.

The board is able to generate enough energy to power itself as well as small electronics at typing speeds greater than 100 characters per minute. I suppose one could just mash buttons as quickly as possible to generate even more power but then, the keyboard would lock you out for not typing correctly.

The full report, titled Personalized Keystroke Dynamics for Self-Powered Human–Machine Interfacing, can be read in the ACS Nano journal