Powerbook Motion Sensor Alarm System

I’m most productive when I find a good spot in the library to work on my papers. However, Laptops, especially Apple Powerbooks, are the subjects of theft often in libraries and cybercafes. Which set me thinking of ways of securing my Powerbook in public places…

First, I looked at the popular methods. There are laptop security locks which require you to tie your computer to a desk. The “Targus DEFCON™ 1 Ultra Notebook Computer Security System ($49.99)” seems like the most hardcore as it comes with a stainless steel cable and motion detection which shrieks at 95 decibels should it be tampered with.

Now, realizing that motion detection is used in most security devices, such as car alarms, I then thought of how we could tap on the new Apple Powerbook’s Sudden Motion Sensor to build our own built-in alarm system. This set me thinking on how we could hack together a software alarm system through Amit Singh’s amstracker utility. I thought of Applescript since it was most accessible for me. For days, I struggled to to do something as described above but didn’t make much progress… then today, I discovered that someone had already beat me to it! Enter BumpAlarm:

BumpAlarm is a program that uses the motion sensors in Apple’s new Powerbooks to trigger various actions when motion is detected. It can be set it to automatically play a sound file, send an email alert, or run an applescript.

By enabling MacOSX’s password-protected screensaver, you can hide BumpAlarm so nobody knows it’s running.

Set BumpAlarm to run an AppleScript when it detects motion and the possibilities are limitless. Here are a few ideas…. make the Finder beep incessantly, send an automated alert to someone with iChat, or take a picture or record video with iSight.

BumpAlarm, requires Amit Singh’s amstracker utility, available here. Save it to a convenient place on your hard drive. When you first open BumpAlarm it will ask you to locate it. If you don’t have one of the new Powerbooks with the motions sensors in them, AMStracker will simulate it using your primary input device (mouse). Pretty cool!

3 thoughts on “Powerbook Motion Sensor Alarm System

  1. Didn’t someone come up with a feature that paged you? Or maybe SMS or call your phone?

    Hey I bet if someone sets up a “Laptop Security Monitoring” service in your campus, it might make money. Like, if the laptop is moved, the service alerts the user and confirms if it’s you. If you say it isn’t, they can pinpoint the location, time etc.

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