Browse Prior Art Database

Pin Keyboard with Non-Obscuring Security Feature

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000038193D
Original Publication Date: 1989-Dec-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Jan-31
Document File: 1 page(s) / 12K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Harris, RH: AUTHOR

Abstract

It is difficult to provide a keyboard that preserves the privacy of a customer as he enters his personal identification number (PIN), particularly, when he is in a crowded place like the checkout lane of a supermarket. The disclosed invention provides a simple keyboard that is easy to use and still retains privacy and security for the PIN user. The keyboard has no blinders, shrouds, or covers and the keys are plainly visible to the customer and to no one else. The touch of the keyboard is not affected.

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Pin Keyboard with Non-Obscuring Security Feature

It is difficult to provide a keyboard that preserves the privacy of a customer as he enters his personal identification number (PIN), particularly, when he is in a crowded place like the checkout lane of a supermarket. The disclosed invention provides a simple keyboard that is easy to use and still retains privacy and security for the PIN user. The keyboard has no blinders, shrouds, or covers and the keys are plainly visible to the customer and to no one else. The touch of the keyboard is not affected.

The accompanying drawing shows a schematic of the keyboard. The key mechanism can be of any design as long as the keycaps contain a single character numeric display. On top of this numerical display is a film which has the property that it is transparent over a small angle. Microlouver is an example of a film which exhibits transparency over a small angle.

In operation, the point of sale terminal assigns the characters randomly to the key positions and the customer enters the PIN using the random key arrangement. The Microlouver film prevents anyone except the person directly in front of the keyboard from knowing which numbers were displayed on the keytops. This, of course, is the customer who entered the PIN and is the only person who can associate the key positions with numbers. Any other observer only sees the key positions that were depressed. Since there are over 3.5 million combinations of character assignments...