Smartwatch detects what you type on your keyboard

Researchers from ECE Illinois have created a 'surveillance' app that they've installed on a Samsung Gear Live smartwatch. The app follows the micro-movements of your smartwatch and has the ability to detect what keys are being pressed with your left hand, therefore guessing what someone may be typing on a keyboard.

Using the motion sensors, researchers were able to create a 3D map of the user's hand movements while typing on a keyboard. Two algorithms were thus created for detecting keys being pressed (on the left side of the keyboard) and guessing what word was being typed.

The first algorithm records where the smartwatch's sensors could detect movement, creating a heatmap of common spots where the user would press down. The second algorithm took the data and analysed the pauses between smartwatch keystrokes (in the left hand).  It was thus able to detect how many letters were pressed with the right hand, based on the user's frequency of keystroke and duplicate words typed on the keyboard.

The research team confirmed that the project has a ways to go as there are some flaws in their system. The app only works on a Samsung Gear Live smartwatch, but in theory, a similar app can be cultivated for other smartwatch models. They've issued a warning as well, saying that the design of this device poses a problem to user privacy.   


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