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Stanton Concepts Robo Key System (RKS)

The RKS lock is a very unique lock. It is a six number combination lock that has the combination entered by a motorized dialer (the key). It features a sealed keyway (no opening) that allows for its use in extremely harsh environments and offers extreme resistance to manipulation. The dialer uses a completely open source interface that allows for the lock to be very modular and easily integrated into a wide range of locking systems. While the lock itself is purely mechanical, the system features many of the benefits of an electronic locking system.

Origin

The RKS lock itself is based on the old and very secure principal of the rotating wheel safe lock. Rotating wheel, or combination safe locks, have been around for a long time and are still used today in high security installations. Most combination locks are three wheel combination locks, meaning three numbers are entered to open the lock. While some combinations locks can be manipulated, the most common attack on high security combination locks is brute forcing, or auto dialing the lock. A standard three wheel combination lock could be opened in about a weekend with a modern auto dialer. A four wheel combination lock can extend the amount of time needed to brute force the lock to a month or more. Because it is one of the only attacks that generally works, some modern locks have countermeasures designed to resist brute force attack.
 

The RKS Evolution

The RKS lock is most easily understood as a miniaturized six wheel combination lock. Each additional wheel exponentially increases the total number of possible combinations, meaning brute forcing an RKS lock infeasible as the time it would take could span years. The additional wheels also make manipulation more difficult as the blocking bar is blocked by several disks with false gates, preventing feedback that could be useful to an attacker. The RKS lock has a small front interface spindle that accepts a post on a manual or robotic key. The key then rotates the spindle to dial in the combination. While a manual dial (similar to a standard combination lock dial) can be used, it is primarily meant to be used with a robotic dialer. The robotic dialer interfaces with the spindle at exceptionally high speeds, quickly and accurately dialing the exact combination for the lock. As the lock is generally not dialed by hand, there can be exceptionally tight tolerances on the gates, increasing manipulation resistance and making for a larger key space.
 

Modularity

The large benefit of the RKS system is its exceptional ability to be outfitted into almost any environment. The core of the lock is roughly the size of a small cam lock, allowing it to be integrated into nearly every standard form factor including padlocks, knobs, levers, deadbolts, furniture locks, and others. Due to the simplicity of the lock/key interface, the RKS can be easily integrated into OEM and custom security solutions. The RKS lock interfaces with the key through a simple spindle driven system. By using a flexible rotating shaft one could easily dial the combination into the lock without having direct access to the lock. In other words, the key does not need to be located anywhere near the lock, so the lock itself can be placed in a secure location. This is only one example. The RKS allows for many other dialing options including magnetic coupling (no direct access to the interface or ability for feedback), robotic, or remote coupling too. Third parties are welcomed and encouraged to develop their own interfaces as only the lock itself is restricted.
 

Open Source Dialer

In the RKS system only the lock itself is patented, the rest of the system is completely open source.&nbspIn the RKS system only the lock itself is patented. The rest of the system is completely open source. A sample manual and robotic/electronic dialer are provided. The hardware specifications and firmware are fully published. This allows for easy modification to existing dialers or for completely new dialers to be made by customers or solution providers. Audit log and lock management libraries and software are also provided free of charge and are open source and cross platform. The sample dialer shows off the ability to support multiple users, blackout times, pin based access, multiple locks with one dialer, and auditing. There are many additional features that could be added including GSM communication (for remotely fetching lock codes), biometric authentication, and more. The innovations and future of the RKS system lie in the dialer, which is why it is so exceptionally important that it is a completely open system. Infrastructure can be outfitted with the RKS locks and security can be upgraded over time by only upgrading the dialers themselves. The open nature of the dialer allows third parties to innovate, share, and sell new features for the product with no restrictions from Stanton Concepts.
 

Security and Future

Due to the extremely large number of possible combinations and the time tested nature of combination based locks, the RKS cylinder is most likely one of the most future proof locks available today.
 

Pricing and Materials

At the heart of the RKS is a mechanical locking cylinder. The cylinder can be made from a number of different materials depending on the target application. It is most commonly made from brass or steel, although plastics, glass, and other materials have been tested. The cylinders themselves are generally very reasonably priced at under $100 for a standard core. Pricing discounts may be available when purchasing in large quantities. This makes the RKS one of the easiest investments for extremely high security environments or custom locking solutions. For more information or integration information with the RKS system please contact us. Additional technical details and the history of the RKS can be found in the paper written by Han Fey The RKS Principle.