In some offices, you have to ask around for the Wi-Fi password, or find it written down on a bit of paper. In others, you do it by poking a banana.
Danish network engineer Stefan Milo constructed his fruity authentication system by wiring a piece of fruit to a Makey Makey board and a Raspberry Pi mounted on acrylic glass. The entire setup cost under $100, and creates a novel way for guests to obtain one-time access codes.
Milo told El Reg that he built the system as an alternative to a ticket-based system that physically prints a code unique for each visitor. With that system, guests go to the reception desk, get a slip of paper with their code on it, and then enter that number into a Wi-Fi captive portal to gain access to the network.
“When you go to $corp, and the receptionist hands you a small piece of paper that someone printed out on an A4, and then spent time on cutting out into small pieces, I cringe,” he explained.
“Even if you have a small voucher printer, it still involves the receptionist, installing of the printer, support when the printer driver effs up etc. And it still involves paper – what is this? 1999?”
Instead, Milo spent a weekend at home developing his automated ticket dispenser. The (relatively) simple setup runs a bash shell script on the Raspberry Pi that generates a unique guest key on command and displays the code on an attached TFT display. The script is triggered via the Makey Makey board, which is told to alert the Pi whenever a voltage drop is detected in the attached banana.
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