This is one of those ideas that once you see you wonder why it hasn’t been done before. Well, it certainly was done often, but probably by expert locksmiths doing it manually… This software could simplify the whole procedure by an order of magnitude, making it accessible to any amateur.
UC San Diego computer scientists have built a software program that can perform key duplication without having the key. Instead, the computer scientists only need a photograph of the key. […]
In one demonstration of the new software system, the computer scientists took pictures of common residential house keys with a cell phone camera, fed the image into their software which then produced the information needed to create identical copies. In another example, they used a five inch telephoto lens to capture images from the roof of a campus building and duplicate keys sitting on a café table more than 200 feet away. […]
“If you go onto a photo-sharing site such as Flickr, you will find many photos of people’s keys that can be used to easily make duplicates. While people generally blur out the numbers on their credit cards and driver’s licenses before putting those photos on-line, they don’t realize that they should take the same precautions with their keys” said Savage.
It will take a little while before this technology is used by the common thief, but it’s only a matter of time before the software is freely available online and key-making machines that can take digital input are available, making duplicating keys easier (and safer) than other ways of breaking into houses.
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See also: Overestimating the CIA?