Lock-Cracking Robot Entertains You While Breaking Combo

The next time you lose the combination to your locker at the gym, skip bringing in the giant bolt-cutters and call the Principles of Engineering students at Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering. They’ve built a lock-cracking robot that can crack any Masterlock padlock combination in less than two hours. If you know one or more numbers in the combination you can input them using the associated software. The robot takes what it knows and figures out the rest by “intelligent brute force:” basically, it tries out every possible combination of numbers and tries to open the lock after every attempt.

Once the machine figures out the combination it also tells you what it is so that you don’t have to wait around for it the next time you misplace the magic numbers. And since waiting around for up to two hours can get pretty boring, the software gives you a selection of links and videos to play around with to keep you entertained. The LockCracker has its limitations: it can only open Masterlock brand locks and the whole setup is rather cumbersome to carry around with you – but we’re reasonably sure that you’ll be willing to overlook those small inconveniences when you really, really need to get to that Power Bar you left in your inconveniently locked locker.

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See more in Robotics or under Technology. May, 2011.