Research — Open Sesame

Researchers to date mainly frame usability and security only in terms of minimizing frustration. This is because security system designers usually begin their work with the limits of the technology involved rather than an understanding of the behaviors and motivations of their users. Post-It notes of passwords stuck to computer monitors are the consequence of security that users dislike. And so security that is not usable—and thus not enjoyable—is not secure.

With Open Sesame we are working to flip the security world on its head with the notion of pleasurable security. Open Sesame replaces the traditional proximity key card system at our lab’s doorway with a gesture-based system that incorporates a variety of features to maximize pleasure in the security interaction. Existing research demonstrates a strong link between how we move and how we feel. Our system is designed to harness this effect and to purposefully serve our users’ various moods when they enter our doorway. With Open Sesame, we aim to maximize enjoyment and in doing so achieve good usability.

Open Sesame uses a variety of techniques for face matching, body geometry matching, and gesture recognition. The system identifies an authorized user at a distance and recognizes one of several gestures (unique to that user's way of moving through space) to unlock the door to our lab.

Related Publications

Peer Reviewed Conference and Journal Publications