RhythmLink: Securely Pairing I/O-Constrained Devices by Tapping | PDF

What if you could quickly connect a new device to your phone simply by tapping a rhythm on that device? RhythmLink enables fast, secure pairing, even when the device has just one button.

Felix Xiaozhu Lin, Daniel Ashbrook, and Sean White. In Proceedings of the ACM symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST) 2011.

Abstract: We present RhythmLink, a system that improves the wireless pairing user experience. Users can link devices such as phones and headsets together by tapping a known rhythm on each device. In contrast to current solutions, RhythmLink does not require user interaction with the host device during the pairing process; and it only requires binary input on the peripheral, making it appropriate for small devices with minimal physical affordances. We describe the challenges in enabling this user experience and our solution, an algorithm that allows two devices to compare imprecisely-entered tap sequences while maintaining the secrecy of those sequences. We also discuss our prototype implementation of Rhythm-Link and review the results of initial user tests.