The Electronic Key Impressioner Is A Car Thief's Wet Dream

This is the Electronic Key Impressioner, which can scan a car door's lock and, after software interpretation, produce not only a working key, but the car's ignition code. Sure, it's designed for locksmiths, but car thieves everywhere will rejoice.

The EKI is basically a fancy 3D scanning tool. The tip is inserted into the car's lock and the position of the lock's tumblers is recorded. When the data is downloaded via USB to a computer, the system's software analyzes the tumblers to determine the shape of the key and the data is sent to an automatic key cutter, which produces a key to unlock the door. Since most cars have a passive RF transmitter in the key which communicates with the ignition to provide a digital handshake in addition to the mechanical one the key provides, the software can also look up RF codes and pair them to the newly cut key.

The current drawbacks include limitation to Ford vehicles, though the creators are adding other makes, limitation to traditionally shaped keys (no fancy VW or Jaguar style keys) and it doesn't work with the increasingly popular passive keyless entry and start systems. Expect to see this thing in use when Hollywood inevitably remakes Gone in Sixty Seconds yet again. [Popular Mechanics via AutoBlog]