Security

9 new technologies that keep you (and your stuff) safe.

Never Lose Your Keys Again

The silver cylinder of the August Smart Lock with yellow and blue in the background
August Home Smart Lock
The August Smart Lock unshackles your home from the tyranny of physical keys. The 3-inch cylinder fastens to the back of an existing deadbolt, leaving the outside appearance of your door unchanged. Once attached, a Bluetooth signal from your smartphone can flip the mechanism to unlock the door. A guest with a smartphone and an August app can enter once you've granted them access. No more passing out hard-copy keys, which are much harder to revoke—and easier to lose. The Smart Lock lets you pick days and times for guest entry, so the dog walker can get in only during lunch hours, or your weekend Airbnb guests lose access once their stay is over. If your guests don't have smartphones, a Wi-Fi add-on allows you to buzz them in remotely. Plus, you can set the Smart Lock to bolt automatically every time the door shuts. And should anything fail, the old key still works. $229, plus $50 for remote connectivityJonathon Kambouris

The App That Keeps Cops Safe

An NYPD officer using a smart phone in front of the World Trade Center memorial
NYPD DAS Mobile
Relaying 911 information to cops on the beat—by radio—hasn’t changed in decades. But there’s only so much intel dispatchers can convey that way. This year, the New York City Police Department—the largest force in the United States—began sending ancillary data to some cops via smartphone. It’s the first police force in the country to do so. The app is secure, requiring a PIN code and an ID scan to log in. Cops get background intel on prior arrests and outstanding warrants at the dispatched address, or helpful details such as whether burglars typically enter it by the back door. For an officer on the street, such extra information can be lifesaving.Image courtesy NYPD

Hack-Proof And Shatter-Proof

Two modern smartphones overlapping on a black background
Turing Phone
With just a single port and waterproofing inside and out, the Turing Phone is designed to be indestructible. For the shell, the company uses an alloy dubbed "liquidmorphium." Because the molecules in liquid­morphium are arranged amorphously, rather than in the rigid structure of metals, the alloy is less prone to bending or breaking. The software is designed to be indestructible too. While no system is truly hack-proof, Turing has made breaching their flavor of Android so computationally expensive that they think hackers won't bother trying. And when users dial other Turing Phones, the calls are fully encrypted end to end—no third-party authentication necessary. $740Image courtesy Turing Robotic Industries

Smallest, Safest Anthrax Detector

A translucent credit-card size lab-on-a-chip with a big red circle in the upper left
BaDx
Anthrax, a bacterial disease of grazing animals, can be a deadly terrorist tool. Now Sandia National Laboratories and security-technology company Aquila are making it simple to detect. They're producing a credit-card-size lab-on-a-chip that's akin to a pregnancy test: Inject a sample and wait a few hours for a line to appear. Because the test is portable, samples won't accumulate in labs—which is a security risk. It will help ranchers around the world detect the disease in their livestock. Aquila, which is producing the tests in partnership with Sandia, began shipping units earlier this year and plans to adapt the technology for other bacteria like E. coli.Image courtesy Aquila

Get Your Stuff Back

An adhesive pen with a bunch of tiny dots in the background
Anti-Theft Dots
Cops across the country have rooms packed with stolen items but no way of locating their owners. Anti-Th eft Dots fix that. Th ey're tiny nickel disks with identifying numbers chemically etched into them that link owners and property through a database. Th eir adhesive glows under black light, alerting cops to their presence, and can be applied to nearly anything: laptops, watches, TVs, and bikes. By year's end, 2,000 police forces nationwide will support them. $33 per kit, which can mark 50 itemsImage courtesy Anti-Theft Dots

A Freakin' Hoverbike

A small figure on a flying prototype quadcopter, both in white, on a cloudy blue-gray sky
Malloy Aeronautics
Mobility is a perpetual problem for soldiers on the ground, especially in the challenging terrain of today's conflicts. Enter the hoverbike, a mash-up of a motorcycle and a quadcopter. Malloy Aeronautics has a working prototype, and this summer, the U.S. Army Research Laboratory contracted the company to test if the hoverbike could work for soldiers. Civilians might want them too: Malloy suggests it could find use among land inspectors and search-and-rescue teams.Image courtesy Malloy Aeronautics

Ears, Not Eyes, In The Sky

Drone Shield
Drone Shield
At the Boston Marathon this year, the DroneShield team worked with city police to deploy 10 detectors that listen, rather than look, for potentially dangerous airborne threats delivered by drone. The unit cross-​references audio it picks up with a library of drone sonic signatures, and sends an alert if it finds a match. DroneShield has installed its ears in the sky around office buildings, prisons, airports, and private homes.Image: Jill Shomer

Easy, Secure Messaging

A blue square, angled 30 degrees up on the left side, with a sans-serif "p" cut out of the middle
Peerio
In our post-​Snowden world, secure messaging is ever more appealing. The standard encryption method is PGP, or "Pretty Good Privacy." It uses several layers of encryption to ensure messages can be read only by the intended recipient. But PGP can be tricky to set up. Enter Peerio, which provides easy-to-use PGP-level encryption for messages and file storage. Just download the software, have your would-be communicants do the same, set up a secure pass phrase, and chat away. Secretly. FreeImage courtesy Peerio

A Crystal That Detects Nuclear Radiation (No, Really)

Two translucent white cylinders--one big, one little--on a black background
Inrad Optics Stilbene Crystals
Stilbene crystal is stable, safe, and glows purple—scintillates, technically—when it is in the presence of radioactive materials such as plutonium. Stilbene's scintillating abilities were discovered in the 1940s, but optics manufacturer Inrad's commercial version has just started appearing in prototype homeland-​security detection devices.Image courtesy Inrad Optics