Good ideas with bad execution, or good execution of what should be bad ideas - an analysis of inferior, off-beat or malfunctioning products, and how other people's failures can help us design better stuff.
The problematic case of Lex Luthor and Kryptonite Locks
Thanks to reader JD for a submission to Made By Monkeys – please do keep them coming.
This is one to handle carefully, as it is about the apparent fallibility of a lock design… However, the thieves already know about this because it has long been out in the public domain. Check out this Wired article from 2004 – Twist a Pen, Open a Lock
The products in question are Kryptonite Locks. “Perhaps Lex Luthor had a hand in it…,” says JD. The locks “use an axial pin tumbler, a common cylindrical design used in a wide variety of products,” states Wired.
“A 50-year-old lock design was rendered useless [...] when a brief post to an Internet forum revealed the lock can be popped open with a cheap plastic pen,” begins the report.
“On Sunday, bike enthusiast and network security consultant Chris Brennan described opening an expensive Kryptonite bike lock using a ballpoint pen.”
The team successfully tested Brennan’s claims – a brand new Kryptonite Evolution 2000 was opened within seconds using a cheap biro. Apparently, after briefly modifying the pen’s barrel, the lock could be opened with a single twist…