TIME Innovation

Saying ‘Open Sesame’ Actually Unlocks Doors Now

A new app wirelessly unlocks doors by a classic spoken command

The expression “open sesame” was popularized by a folk tale in One Thousand and One Nights, but it’s taken roughly three centuries for the expression to start opening doors in real life.

MIT graduate student Dheera Venkatraman calls his “Sesame” app for Android Wear smartwatches an “exceedingly simple project” to unlock a door using spoken commands. The wearer simply needs to shout into the watch face, “OK Google, open sesame” to open the app. It then wirelessly transmits a command via Bluetooth to turn an Internet-connected lock.

Of course, the lock itself has to be outfitted with a fair amount of hardware. Venkatraman fastened a small rotating cuff to a deadbolt handle. The apparatus is still very much an early build with a few exposed wires running along the door. Still, Venkatraman has shared instructions on his website so hobbyists can gather up the components, copy the code and add their own refinements to an idea that’s been some 300 years in the making.

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